The Kingdom of Jordan is a signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Although Jordan is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the international classification of patents is not observed in Jordan. Applications for the grant of a patent are filed with the Patent Office, which examines the applications for compliance with formalities and patentability under the Jordanian Patents and Design Law and may require amendments to applications to achieve conformity.
Appeals by applicants against the requirements of the Patent Office as decided by the Registrar of Patents are made by petition to the High Court of Justice within 30 days of the Registrar of Patents' decision.
Approved applications are published in the Official Gazette. The period during which any interested party may file an opposition is two months from the date of publication. If no opposition has been filed or if the Registrar or court rejects the filed oppositions, a decision granting the patent is issued.
Patents are valid for a period of 16 years from the date of filing the application, provided that registration fees are paid along with the decision to grant the patent and that renewal fees are paid every four years during the patent term.
Patent rights are freely transferable; however, notice of the transfer must be published in the Official Gazette and properly registered with the Patent Office so that they may become valid vis a vis third parties.
Under the Patents and Design Law, patents are not granted for chemical products relating to medical drugs, pharmaceutical compositions and food. The methods and processes used in the preparations of such products, however, may be the subject of a patent.
The Patents and Design Law requires that the owner of a patent use the patented product or process in Jordan within three years of the date the patent was granted; if this requirement is not satisfied, the law provides for compulsory licensing of the patent.
The Patents and Design Law provides penalties for infringement of patents.In August 1999, Jordan's Lower House of Parliament approved a draft to amend its Trademark Law, in an effort to facilitate its accession to the World Trade Organization. In some aspects, Jordanian legislators went beyond the minimum obligations set forth by the Trade Related Aspects for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights and the Madrid Convention to provide further protection for trademark owners.
The new law protects registered trademarks for a ten-year period, even though TRIPS only stipulates a minimum of seven years. The draft also widened the range of marks that can be protected by the law to include "famous" marks and "group" marks. "Famous" marks are trademarks that become known in the Kingdom through advertising and publicity, even if they are not yet marketable. "Group" marks are used to identify groups regardless of the nature of their work, even if they are not used for commercial purposes.
The new draft annulled the link between the trademark and the trade outlet, so the owner can waive a right to the trademark or rent it without relinquishing the right to the outlet. The draft also increased the period before the owner loses his right to the trademark if it is not used from two to three years.
The international classification of goods regarding trademarks is observed in Jordan, although the Trademarks Law does not adopt the classification for service marks that are recognized worldwide. Applications for registration of a trademark are filed with the Registrar of Trademarks. The Registrar conducts an examination of the application, and, if accepted, the trademark application is published in the Official Gazette. Any interested party may file an opposition within three months of publication.
Oppositions that are not settled by the Registrar or appeals based on the Registrar's decision are brought to the High Court of Justice. If no opposition has been filed or if the Registrar or court rejects the filed oppositions, a decision regarding the trademark is granted and the appropriate certificate is issued.
Based on recent amendments, trademark registration is now valid for a period of ten years beginning on the date the application was filed and is renewable for additional periods of 14 years each.
Trademarks are freely transferable, but in order for them to be valid vis a vis third parties, notice of the transfer must be published in the Official Gazette and properly registered with the Registrar of Trademarks.
The Trademarks Law requires actual use of the trademarks registered. Trademarks of which there was no bona fide use or which have not been actually used for a period of three years immediately prior to the submission of an application for cancellation may be annulled.
Unauthorized use or imitation of a trademark registered in Jordan is punishable by law.In 1992, the Copyright Protection Law No. 22 was enacted. The Copyright Law grants copyright protection to original works of literature, art and science of any type, purpose or importance. It covers works of art as may be expressed in writing, sound, drawing, photography and motion pictures, including books, speeches, plays, musical compositions, films, applied art, three-dimensional works and computer software.
A copyright is filed at the Ministry of Culture. The work protected must be original and involve personal innovation and arrangement. The protection period, for both Jordanians and foreigners, is 30 years after the death of the author. The Ministry of Culture may publish or republish a work subject to copyright protection if the author or the author's heirs have not published or republished the work within six months of the date the Ministry has given notice that the work is to be so published or republished. In the event of publication or republication by the Ministry of Culture, the author or author's heirs are entitled to fair remuneration.
The Copyright Law provides penalties for infringement. Enforcement of the Copyright Law is in the jurisdiction of the civil courts; however, the implementing regulations relating to the law have not yet been promulgated.
In late 1998, an updated Copyright Law was passed, and Jordan acceded to the Berne Convention in April 1999. However, enforcement mechanisms have yet to be established. Jordan is currently on the United States Trade Representative's Special 301 watch list for inadequate intellectual property protection. In negotiations with the U.S. Government, Jordan has agreed to a plan that calls for significant improvement in intellectual property protection over the next several years.
There remains, however, strong resistance to rapid implementation of a modern intellectual property regime in Jordan. Much of this resistance stems from the influential pharmaceutical industry, which profits from unlicensed copying of patented drugs. The majority of videos and software sold in the Jordanian market are also pirated. Jordan's accession to the World Trade Organization will eventually require that the government of Jordan establish a TRIPS-comparable intellectual property regime.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)