Iraq is a member to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Act of Stockholm of 1967). Registration of trademarks in Iraq is effected under the provisions of the Trademark Law No. 21 of the year 1957 and its subsequent amendments.

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 (available in section 3.5.5), which is almost identical to the international classification An application can include goods in any number of subclasses, but with additional charges for each subclass. Service marks are not registrable. The prints of the trademark should show the Arabic transliteration of the mark in a larger lettering on 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 languages along with the trademark denomination.

Once a trademark application is filed, it is examined as to registrability and to ensure that no prior identical or similar trade mark 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 is issued.

A trademark registration is valid for fifteen 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 three to six months so that a trademark renewal may be effected. Alternatively, the trade mark will be re-registered with a validity extending for fifteen years as of the expiry date of the registration.

The assignment of a trademark registration 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-a-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 nor 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 two consecutive years. A trademark registration is consequently cancelled unless the owner proves that non-use of the trademark was for reasonable causes of which the court approves. The Trademark Office or any party concerned is entitled to demand 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.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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