Morocco has a relatively comprehensive regulatory and legislative system for the protection of intellectual property. Intellectual property rights, however, must be registered in both Casablanca and Tangier in order to be protected in Morocco.
Morocco is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and party to a number of other international agreements and conventions dedicated to the protection of intellectual property, including the Bern Copyright, Paris Industrial Property and Universal Copyright conventions, the Brussels Satellite Convention, and the Madrid, Nice and the Hague Agreements for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
Morocco was considering enactment of a new law on industrial property protection in a bid to stop unlicensed use of international brands or makes by local companies. Although Morocco is under various obligations due to its membership to GATT since 1994, the new Commerce Law of May 13, 1996 did not include any provisions strengthening intellectual property rights.
Any individual or legal entity may file an application for a patent with the Moroccan Patent Office in Casablanca. The Patent Office examines applications with regard to form only and not with regard to novelty or merit. The particulars of the application are published in the Official Gazette. No opposition procedure is provided, and patents issued are valid for twenty years. Universal novelty of the invention is required by law to grant a patent, and working of patents issued is required by law to maintain the patent. Patents rights may be freely transferred to third parties, however, the transfer must be registered with the Patent Office in order to be effective against third parties.
The international classification of goods is followed in Morocco. Trademark applications are examined by the Trademark Office only with regard to form. Registered trademarks in the preceding year are published in a special trademark supplement of the Official Gazette. No opposition procedure is provided. A registered trademark is valid for twenty years from the date of registration renewable for additional twenty years periods.
Transfer of trademark rights must be registered with the Trademark Office within three months in order to be valid against third parties. Infringement of a registered trademark may be punishable under either the penal or civil laws of Morocco.
Moroccan law provides copyright protection for the literary or artistic expression of an idea, and there are no registration requirements to invoke such protection.
A copyright confers upon the author two principal rights: a property right and an ethical right. The property right gives the author the exclusive right to exploit the copyrighted work for pecuniary gain. This right extends throughout the author's lifetime, and, thereafter, it is transferred to the benefit of the author's heirs for a period of fifty years.
The ethical right protects an author's non-pecuniary interest in the literary or artistic work, which includes the protection of authorship and integrity. This right is perpetual, inalienable and remains with the author until death, and thereafter, with the author's heirs. Authors may sell all or part of their property rights, or the right to perform or reproduce the work, without forfeiting their ethical rights.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)