The Sultanate joined the World Intellectual Property Organization in September 1996. The sultanate is also applying for membership in the WTO, which would require a signing a number of agreements, including one on protection of intellectual property rights.
TrademarksIn 1996, the country enacted a copyright protection law but did not begin enforcement until 1999, when the government destroyed pirated cassettes. In its attempt to gain acceptance to the WTO, the country is working to become TRIPS compliant.
The Omani trademarks regimes consists of Royal Decree 68/87, Decree Law No. 635/1991 and Royal Decree 33/91. Registrable marks consist of distinctive shapes consisting of words, signatures, letters, drawings, symbols, headings, seals, pictures, engraving or any other distinctive mark or combination. With the exception of alcoholic goods of Class 33, Oman has adopted all forty-two classes of the International Classification. Prior to registration, marks are published in the Official Gazette and in one daily paper. Opposition may be filed within thirty days from the date of publication in the Official Gazette. Upon registration, a ten year period of protection is granted, renewable for similar periods, and exclusive ownership of the mark is given. Marks which have not been used for five years or more may be challenged for lack of use. Marks unlawfully registered or which have not been effectively used for five consecutive years can be canceled upon a petition filed by the Registrar or any interested party. Violation of the law triggers criminal penalties including fines, imprisonment or both.
CopyrightIn 1996, Oman enacted a new copyright law by Royal Decree 47/96. Under this law, the authors of original works of art in literature, science (including computer programs), arts and culture in general enjoy the protection of the law irrespective of the value, type, manner of expression or purpose of those works. The copyright is the sole right of the author unless proved otherwise. Such rights include the right to translate, abridge, publish, financially exploit and reproduce the work. Certain exploitations of such works are allowed for, e.g. teaching purposes, use by public libraries, personal use and the like. The Commercial Disputes Settlement Committee may make orders regarding unauthorized publication or display, which include stopping publication, display or manufacturing and attaching the revenues made by virtue of the breach of the author’s rights. The right to financially exploit the work lapses after fifty years from the death of the author or the death of the last author in case of joint works. A protection period of twenty-five years from the date of publication applies to movies, applied-art works, photographs, works belonging to private or public corporations, works firstly published after the author’s death and works published under a pseudonym or without bearing the author’s name.
Authors possess the right to transfer all or part of their rights in the work free of charge. Publications of literary, artistic and scientific works which are published in Oman by means of reproduction, shall first be filed with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the works will be also published in the Official Gazette. Violation of the provisions of the Royal Decree 47/96 triggers criminal penalties including fine and imprisonment.