Libya is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement is followed in Libya. The trademark law does not provide for the protection of trademarks covering alcoholic drinks in classes 32 and 33 and pork meat in class 29. Service marks can be registered according to the Eighth Edition of the Nice Classification.
Recently, the Libyan Trademark Office implemented a new effective trademark registration system. It considered all trademark applications filed in Libya prior to August 2002 as invalid. Accordingly, fresh applications should be filed in order to ensure legal protection for the applications filed prior to August 2002.
Once a trademark application is filed, it is examined as to its registrability. Should the mark lack any requirement as provided for in the law and its implementing regulations, the application will be rejected by the examiner. The applicant may appeal the rejection of its application to a commission appointed for that purpose within 30 days as of the date of receiving the relevant official notification.
Trademark applications approved by the Registrar are published in the Official Gazette. There is a 3-month period from the date of publication during which any interested party may file an opposition notice. An opposition to the registration of a published trademark should be prosecuted before the Registrar by either a patent attorney or a lawyer. If not settled by the Registrar, or if either party objects to the decision issued by the Registrar, the opposition case is referred to the competent tribunal. In the absence of opposition, a published trademark is registered and the relative certificate will be issued.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of filing the trademark application renewable for periods of 10 years each upon application, and payment of the prescribed renewal fees. A grace period of 3 months is allowed for the late renewal of the registration of a trademark with the payment of a lateness fine.
The assignment of a trademark should be recorded. Unless it is published in the Official Gazette and entered in the records of the Trademark Office, an assignment shall not be effective vis-à-vis third parties. The assignment of a trademark must be accompanied with the goodwill of the business concern. Changes in the name and/or address of the registrant must be recorded.
Use of trademarks in Libya is not compulsory for filing applications, but it is necessary for maintaining trademark registrations in force. However, a trademark registration is vulnerable to cancellation on the strength of a court decision obtained to this effect by any interested party. A cancellation action relies basically on establishing sufficient grounds that the trademark in question has not been effectively used for a period of 5 consecutive years.
The verification of such nonuse shall lead to the cancellation of a trademark registration, unless the owner proves that nonuse of the trademark was for reasonable causes of which the court approves. The Trademark Office or any party concerned is entitled to demand the cancellation of any trademark registered in bad faith.
Any infringement or unauthorized use of a registered trademark is punishable under the provisions of the current trademark law in Libya.