Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Libya is ... isn't ... is accepting trade mark applications

There appears to be something of a difference of opinion between two respected international IP practices as to what is actually happening in Libya.  Last Wednesday, after Afro-IP posted news that Libya's trade mark office had reopened for search requests at the beginning of April and would accept new applications for registration in May, this blogger received the following information:
"NJQ Successfully Files the First Trademark Application in Libya since the Evolution

TRIPOLI – NJQ would like to announce that our office in Libya has successfully filed a trademark application for registration in Libya yesterday 16 April 2013.

This will be considered as the first trademark application received by the Libyan Trademark Office since January 2011 when the unrest started.".
On Monday of this week this blogger was greeted by quite different news:
"Libyan Trademarks Office Will not Receive Applications prior to May 2013

TRIPOLI – Despite what has been circulated by an IP firm about the Libyan Trademarks Office having started accepting new applications, Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP) would like to strongly confirm that the Libyan Trademarks Office has not yet and will not accept any new applications before May 2013.

We shall keep you informed of any developments as soon as the Registrar issues an official notification in this regard or starts accepting new applications".
Today Afro Leo reads this riposte from NJQ:
"The Trademark Office has Resumed Operations as of 16 April 2013

We are pleased to announce that the Libyan Trademark Office (LTMO) resumed its operations on 16 April 2013, after the closure of this office due to revolution. We are proud to announce that we have successfully filed the first application since the re-opening of the office for the mark "STEELMASTER" under No. 22102 in Class 2 on 16 April 2013.

According to the new regulations, all documents executed before or during the revolution need to be revised, e.g., any document bearing the consulate stamp of Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya are no longer accepted. The stamp should now indicate the State of Libya ...

Additionally, the LTMO has revised the application requirements and they are now:

• Power of attorney legalized up to Libyan Consulate, and

• Certified copy of the commercial registrar legalized up to Libyan Consulate.

It's worth mentioning that a legalized copy of home/foreign registration certificate is not required anymore".
It would be good to know exactly what is happening in Libya. There may be some logical explanation of all this, but foreign trade mark applicants -- who probably constitute the preponderant majority, if not an overwhelming majority, of brand-owners in need of protection -- are generally not in a position to see for themselves what is going on and it can make them feel quite insecure.

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