Iraq is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Registration of trademarks in Iraq is effective under the provisions of Trademarks and Descriptions Law No. 21 of 1957 and its subsequent amendments.
Order No. 80 issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority on April 26, 2004, amended the aforementioned trademarks law. The law was renamed the "Trademark and Geographical Indications Law."
The classes of goods are subdivided. The wording of the goods to be included in the application should be in conformity with the local classification, which is almost identical to the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement. An application can include goods in any number of classes, but with additional charges for each additional class.
Service marks are registrable as of April 29, 2001, according to the International Classification. The prints of the trademark should show the Arabic transliteration of the mark in a larger lettering on the top of the word in Latin. The prints of a trademark covering goods in class 34 should contain the statutory warning in both English and Arabic along with the trademark denomination and should include the label of the trademark as used.
Once a trademark application is filed, it is examined as to registrability to ensure that no prior identical or similar trademark has been registered. Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in three consecutive issues of the Official Gazette. Any interested party may file a written opposition against the registration of the trademark within 90 days as of the date of the last advertisement. In the absence of opposition, a published trademark is registered, and the relevant certificate of registration will be issued.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years as of the filing date of the application, renewable for similar periods. The trademark law in Iraq does not provide for a grace period during which a late renewal application can be filed. However, the Trademark Office may grant, upon request, a grace period of six months so that a trademark renewal may be effective. Alternatively, the trademark will be re-filed with a validity extending for 10 years as of the expiry date of the registration.
The assignment of a trademark registration should be recorded. It is possible to file recrodal of assignment for pending trademark as well, an assignment shall not be effective vis-à-vis third parties. The assignment of a trademark registration must be with the goodwill of the business concern, unless otherwise agreed upon. Changes in the name and/or address of a registrant must be recorded.
Use of trademarks in Iraq is not compulsory for filing applications for registration, or for maintaining trademark registrations in force. However, a trademark registration is vulnerable to cancellation on the basis 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 actually been used seriously for a period of three consecutive years. A trademark registration is consequently canceled 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.
NOTE: Erbil is protecting the trademarks in Kurdistan region for the new filed applications, but for the already registered trademarks in Iraq/Baghdad, an extension of protection in Kurdistan can be filed at the Iraqi TMO in Baghdad.