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In the background of the HARAKENZO trademark is a global map wherein countries/regions are sized according to the number of patents registered there in 1991.
|Information on Developing Countries
(BRICs, VISTA, et cetera)
Patent engineering staff specialized in patent affairs : Masanori KAWAHITO
Design/trademark staff specialized in design/trademark affairs : Kazunori TAKEDA
OSAKA HEAD OFFICE TEL
OSAKA HEAD OFFICE FAX
: + 81-6-6351-4384
: + 81-6-6351-5664
Information on Emerging Countries (Islamic Republic of Iran)
(Drawings obtained from MOFA website)
The Islamic Republic of Iran is an Islamic republic in the West Asian/Middle East region fronting the Persian Gulf. It borders Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan to the north, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the East, and Turkey and Iraq to the West; across the Persian Gulf, it faces Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
||Approximately 1,650,000 kilometers (app. 4.4 times the area of Japan)
||Approx. 78,400,000 (estimation of 2014, the majority are Persians)
||Tehran (app. 6,800,000 residents)
||Islam (90% of the population follow Shia Islam)
Iran depends on the export of energy resources (petroleum, natural gas, methanol, etc.), which constitute 95% of its export products. It also exports pistachios and sheep wool rugs, etc., but these do not represent a large percentage of the export value. Besides main export destinations in neighboring Iraq and the UAE, China, India and Afghanistan are increasing their shares of Iranian export goods. . Further, Iran is the third-largest provider of petroleum to Japan, although Japan’s import amount from Iran has been declining since 2003.
Meanwhile, Iran imports gasoline, raw steel materials, wheat and rice, etc., refined-oil fuels, foodstuffs, and machinery. In addition to main , UAE and EU member Germany, emerging Asian countries such as China and Korea rank high as exporters to Iran. Iraq imports general machinery and vehicles (automobiles, etc.) from Japan, but Japan's percentage of Iran’s imports is still only 3% (11th place). Based on the fact that Iran is a new emerging market, it could be said that its potential development can be expected.
Export statistics by country (the unit on the vertical axis of the bar graph is one million dollars; based on JETRO statistical data)
Import statistics by country (the unit on the vertical axis of the bar graph is one million dollars; based on JETRO statistical data)
Summary of Industrial Property Laws
- In 2008, a new “Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Registration Act）” was enacted. As in Japan, inventions, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks are eligible for protection. Applications are filed with the Industrial Property Office. Further, the Registration Organization of Deeds and Property of Islamic Republic of Iran represents the state and is the superior organization having jurisdiction over the Industrial Property Office.
- Two laws exist regarding copyright, namely the "Act for Protection of Authors, Composers and Artists Rights" of 1970 and the "Translation and Reproduction of Books, Periodical and Phonograms Act" of 1973 A new copyright law is expected to be enacted and put into effect in 2017. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is the registration authority regarding copyright.
Current situation of counterfeiting and contents of protection
- There is a high incidence of Iranians ordering imitation products with identical or similar trademarks from other countries (mainly from China) and importing them via free trade zones (FTZ).
- Civic and criminal relief measures (punishments, fines, compensations) are allowed regarding such counterfeiting acts that infringe industrial property rights.
- Regarding computer software imitation products, in particular, it is possible to file an appeal with the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.
Ratification of International Treaties:
- Since Iran is a signatory to the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property, it is possible to file an application claiming a priority right under the Paris Convention based on a foreign application.
- In addition, since Iran has ratified the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, it is possible to file an international trademark application.
- Since Iran is not a signatory to WTO, the TRIPS Agreement is not applicable. Also, Iran is not a contracting party of the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT).
- Iran is not a signatory to the Nice Convention either, but it has adopted 45 classes of the international classifications of products and services with regard to trademarks.
- Also, it is not a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works or the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT). However, it is reported that progress is made regarding the participation process for treaties directed at the enactment and implementation of a new copyright act.
Patents/ Utility Models
- As in Japan, the duration of a patent certificate is twenty years from the filing date.
- In order to maintain the value of a patent application and a patent certificate, it is necessary to pay annuities prescribed in enforcement regulations. Belated payment with a surcharge is allowed in the same manner and for the same term as in Japan, and if the term expires, patent applications are considered withdrawn and patents are considered abandoned.
- In cases where the applicant is a foreign resident, it is necessary for a legal representative residing or having an address in Iran to complete the above maintenance procedures.
- The following patent requirements must be furnished
・Inventive Step (inventions including an original innovation)
- Inventions such as the following cannot be patented:
・Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, works of art, business methods
・Therapeutic or diagnostic methods concerning human or animal diseases
・Biological processes for producing genetic resources, etc.
・Inventions which are used commercially contrary to Islamic law and public order and morality
- As in Japan, the following documents are necessary for an application
・Scope of claims for patent
・Drawings, if necessary
・An indication of a patent application (a request for application)
- When a foreigner files an application in Iran, it is usual that an application which claims priority rights under the Paris convention should be filed based on the foreign application, but in the case of Iran, it is necessary to submit a copy of the original application that has been acknowledged by the responsible institution in the country where the basic application has been filed (in the case of Japan, the JPO).
- No publication system exists in Iran. Rather, disclosure of patent applications is strictly prohibited, and the content of the inventions is not announced in official gazettes before registration.
- A patent application is examined by the patent department at the Iranian Industrial Property Office, and if no reasons for refusal apply, it is issued a patent certificate in approximately two months.
- So-called “imported patents” were abolished by the new law enacted in 2008.
Response to a Decision for Final Rejection and Invalidation Request at Court
- In case a patent application has been issued a decision for final rejection, it is possible to file an objection at the Intellectual Property division of the Iranian Industrial Property Office. A decision in response to such is made in about two or three months.
- Concerned parties may plead invalidation of the patent certificate in court.
- Because this system was first introduced in the new law enacted in 2008, at present information concerning enforcement regulations is scarce, and specific details on registration procedures, etc., are not clear yet.
- The duration of design protection is five years from the filing date. It is possible to extend this period for two periods of five years each.
- Only formality examination and examination of basic requirements are conducted. No substantive examination is conducted.
Types of trademarks
- The following types of trademarks are recognized:
・Two-dimensional trademarks (ordinary trademarks)
Further, smells and sounds are not eligible for registration as trademarks.
Trade names ("names or titles which specify or identify natural persons or corporations") and slogans are eligible as subject of protection of trademarks.
Also, no arrangement for defensive marks exists.
* For a wider-ranging protection of trademarks in Iran, it is generally recommended to register and protect trademarks in Persian or in Persian transliteration.
- By revision of the law, the submission of commercial registers, etc. with a certification of the Iranian consulate has become necessary for applications filing and oppositions. Hitherto consular certifications were not handled strictly, but due to this law revision it is necessary to submit commercial registers, etc. with a certification of the Iranian consulate within 60 days of the filing of an application or request of an opposition (However, .a copy has to be submitted at the time of filing/request). Also, this deadline can be extended by 2 months.
- As in Japan, the duration of trademarks is ten years from the date of registration, and an extension of ten more years is possible upon renewal. However, no installment payment system exists.
- As in Japan, belated payment including a surcharge is allowed.
Requirements for registration and non-registrability reasons
Nearly the same requirements for registration and non-registrability reasons as in Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Japanese Trademark Act are prescribed. That is, a trademark must provide distinction between products, must not cause confusion of the place of origin, must contravene neither public order and morality, nor Islamic law, etc. Specifically trademarks as listed below are not eligible for registration.
- (1) non-distinguished marks that cannot be distinguished by itself from goods or services that belong to others
- (2) marks that are considered to contravene public order or morality
- (3) marks that could cause misunderstanding at consumers or trade centers regarding the origin of goods and services as well as regarding properties, quality, quantity or characteristics
- (4) marks that are identical to, imitate or include flags or other signs, names, abbreviations or initials of names used by state or government agencies that are integrated in international treaties, or official signs or components of certification that were chosen by countries, without the permission controlling authorities of the country or organization
- (5) regarding goods or services that are identical or similar to those of others persons, marks that are identical or can be confused for trademarks that are well-known in Iran or comprise translations thereof with
- (6) regarding distinguishable goods or services, marks that are identical or similar to registered marks or well-known trademarks and that could be mistaken for being related to the owner of a well-known mark and could harm the interests of the owner of a well-known trademark
- (7) regarding identical goods and services or regarding goods and services that could cause misunderstandings or confusion through similarity, marks that are identical to earlier registered trademarks of other owners
- (8) marks that designate alcoholic beverages as goods
- (9) marks that consist of female shapes and could be considered to contravene Islamic law, public order and morality
Applications for trademark registration concerning the 33rd class of goods, “alcoholic beverages”, are strictly prohibited since they are contrary to Islamic law. In addition, since beer is regarded as an alcoholic beverage, in case of applying for a trademark designating class 32 goods (such as mineral water), which include beer, an affidavit stating that the applicant does not engage in beer production is required.
- Iran has not signed the Nice Agreement, but a classification based on the Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks of the Nice Agreement (8th edition) is used.
- In applications for trademark registration by a person residing outside of Iran, the applicant must submit a notification, acknowledged by the Iranian consulate in that , of selection of an legal specialist, etc. in Iran, as a representative.
- Since a pre-registration opposition system (abolished in Japan) exists, it takes three months from the filing of an application to the issuance of a registration certificate.
- There are no regulations concerning applications for trademark registration where priority right is claimed under the Paris Convention.
- In addition, divisional applications and amendments are not accepted.
Cancellation of registration
- It is possible to file a request for invalidation of registration with the court on grounds that the trademark does not fulfill the registration requirements.
- As in Japan, petition to cancel a trademark not in use is recognized (the so-called prohibition of last-minute use, including defense based on valid reasons for non-use)
- Author refers to writers, composers and artists.
- Works refers to products which originate from the knowledge of its author and possess originality or artistic quality (regardless of the method).
- Rights of an author:
・Exclusive right with respect to print, broadcasting, performance and publication.
・Right to enjoy economical or intellectual profit generated by works and the author's name.
"Intellectual profit" cannot be transferred and is understood to be similar to an author's personal rights in Japan.
- Subject of protection
・Work which was at first published, distributed or performed in Iran, i.e. material which was not published, distributed or performed in other countries before the publication, distribution or performance in Iran.
・If works which were first published in, for example, Japan are imported to Iran and sold, they cannot receive domestic copyright protection, since Iran is currently not a signatory to the Berne Convention.
Information on Iran
- Regarding Iran's patent information database (article updated April 15, 2016):
Until recently, Iran did not have an online database.
Patent information is now listed exclusively in the "Iranian Official Journal," but the publication also includes other information such as last wills and registrations of corporations and trademarks. This makes it difficult to accurately extract patent information from the Journal. Furthermore, as listings are only in Persian and do not utilize the IPC, the Journal currently lacks sufficient information. While the Iranian Patent Office does have an internal database for Iranian patent searches, the database can only be accessed by patent examiners.
- Iran's patent search website (article updated October 5, 2016)
Iran's patent office now offers a trial version of a publicly accessible patent search website.
However, the website comes with the following limitations:
・The site's interface is available only in Persian (no English version).
・Currently, while there are links to the full specification of patents, these links appear to be invalid in most cases.
・Available records of patent information are limited to approximately the past two years.
* Reference: The Journal of Information Science and Technology Association, Volume 66, No. 1
- Regarding employee's inventions (article updated December 5, 2016)
For employee's inventions it is regulated that "for inventions which are carried out under a contract of employment, the economic rights of the patent revert to the business firm unless there is a particular agreement in an applicable contract" (Article 5e of the Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Registration Act). However, there are no regulations regarding proper compensation, etc. That is, it is understood that the side of the business firm does not have to pay compensation unless compensation is determined via contract. Inventions are often carried out by individuals and not by companies. Therefore, employee's inventions have rarely become an issue in the past.
- Countries with which Iran prohibits trade (updated July 1, 2017)
Any commercial trade with Israel is prohibited Import-Export Restriction Law Enforcement Regulations Article 9). This is irrespective of whether trade is direct or indirect, and so the prohibition applies both to raw materials or parts imported to Iran from Israel, and to parts imported to Iran from Japan via Israel. Further, the prohibition also applies to goods imported to Iran that were manufactured by a company owned by an Israeli citizen.
- Whether or not foreign works can receive copyright protection in Iran (updated on September 27, 2017)
Iran has not acceded to the Berne Convention regarding the protection of literary and artistic works. Consequently, copyrights obtained in foreign countries are not protected in Iran. However, in a case where a non-Iranian foreigner creates an artistic, literary, or technical work in the Islamic republic of Iran, such a work can receive copyright protection under the Iranian copyright law. Specifically, Article 22 of "the protection law for authors', writers' and artists' rights" stipulates "for case only that a work is printed, distributed, or performed in Iran for the first time, and also it has not been printed, distributed, or performed in other countries, the economic right of the author of works receives protection by this law". Therefore, in order for a work to receive copyright protection in Iran, the work needs to be creative and also needs to be created in Iran for the first time.
It should be noted that, in Iran, literary and artistic works receive copyright protection immediately upon their creation, and the protection does not require registration.
Although registration of literary and artistic works is optional, it should be noted that submission of a registration certificate may be required by a court or an official organization since the registration certificate is regarded as an official certificate.
Previously, duration of copyrights was 30 years after the death of their authors or writers. The duration has recently been extended to 50 years under the revision to Article 12 of the protection law for authors', writers' and artists' rights", which revision was made in 2010. Meanwhile, the duration of copyrights of film works, photographs, and works belonging to corporate persons is 30 years. It should also be noted that, in Iran, copyrights can be transferred but a personal right of an author cannot be transferred.
Source: "Research on Systems of Measures for Counterfeit Goods and Operation Status of Such Systems in Iran" from the website of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Patent and Trademark Attorney
Office Manager / IP Manager
I am proud and happy to be an aid in protecting the intellectual property of our clients, and I thoroughly apply myself every day.
With the strengthening of my language ability and law minded competence, in addition to my objective of comprehending the most up-to-date laws, I am devoted to providing our clients with excellent service.
|Osaka Legal Department Trademark Division Manager
Patent&Trademark Attorney / Specially Qualified Attorney For Infringement Litigation
Majored in science of business law.
Specialized in design, trademark, copyright, computer program registration, semiconductor circuit layout-design registration.
As a patent attorney, I feel a great responsibility for establishing and protecting our clients’ important intellectual property rights.
I will make every effort to be of great assistance to our clients.