Afghanistan is a not a member of the Paris Convention, WIPO or any other international treaty for the Protection of Industrial Property; and hence an applicant cannot claim priority based on their home applications/registrations. However, the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement which consists of 45 classes is followed in Afghanistan.
Persons, either of private of legal status, who want to register trademarks may approach the Registration Bureau at the Commercial Court and apply for registration. Immediately on the receipt of the prescribed application form at the Registration Bureau, its contents are entered in the books of the Registration Bureau and a receipt is given. The officer in-charge of the Registration Bureau shall accept or refuse the application within 15 days from the receipt of the application. In case that the application for registration of a mark is refused by the Bureau concerned, the reason for it should be clearly stated. In that case the applicant may refer to the Commercial Court within 10 days of the notification.
If the application for registration of a mark is accepted by the Registration Bureau or the Commercial Court, the Registration Bureau would be bound to register the trademark within 10 days and to issue a formal Registration Certificate to the applicant.
Subsequently, the Publication Department of the Afghanistan Government shall publish the details of the accepted trademarks in the Official Gazette for the awareness of the public. The following parties may file opposition notices against pending applications and registered trademarks:
1) Those who claim the ownership of the trademark and
2) those whose trademark is so similar to the applied/registered mark and that could create confusion among the users.
If the opposition is filed prior to the registration of the defendant, it is required to notify the defendant within 15 days. If the defendant did not withdraw the application, the opponent may contact the Central Commercial Court within 60 days. During this time the registration process shall be suspended. Otherwise, i.e., if the opponent did not approach the court or follow-up on his opposition thereafter, the trademark shall be registered in the name of the defendant. When there is an opposition is filed, the applicant may also contact the Commercial Court to substantiate his claim on the mark. The court shall issue its verdict on such complaints on the basis of commercial trials.
The statutory limitation for hearing of any claim against a registered trademark shall be three years from its registration. The claim of those who do not file an objection within the said three years shall be invalid.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years as of the date of filing the application and the owner of the trademark may apply for an additional 10 years upon expiration of the initial 10 years. Use of marks in Afghanistan is not compulsory for filing applications or necessary for maintaining registrations in force.
Unauthorized use of a trademark registered under the law or an imitation of such trademark applied on goods and services of the same class, or sale, storing for the purpose of sale, or exhibiting for sale of goods and services bearing a counterfeited mark, or using a mark duly registered under the law by another person to serve the purpose of unauthorized promotion of goods or services of the same class are offenses punishable under the law.