Trademark Oppositions in West Bank

Qumsieh, a Jordanian firm of patent attorneys, handles trademarks in the West Bank. I’ve met various members of the Qumsieh family at International conferences. Indeed, have had dealings with the firm for patent work in Jordan. I believe the family is Christian.

In their recent newsletter, they’ve reported on a couple of trademark oppositions they’ve handled before the West Bank trademark office.

I am reproducing the cases below, both to give Qumsieh some publicity, and because the West Bank trademark office in Ramallah is a couple of miles closer to where I live than the Israel Patent Office in Jerusalem, and it is interesting to see what happens there.

Opposition Against Trademark “Durra & Device”
United Brothers Co., a Palestinian company, filed two trademarks applications, the first was for “Durra & device” in class 30, application no. 15895, published on 9 December 2009, and the second for “Durra in Arabic & device” in class 30, application no. 15899, published on 9 December 2009.
Acting on behalf of Al Durra Food Products Co., a Syrian company and the original owner of “Durra & device”, Qumsieh filed an opposition against the above applications based on the following:
Al Durra Food Products Co. has prior registrations for “Durra” in class 30 in their home country and abroad since 11 December 2001.
The opposed applications are identical to Al Durra Food Products Co., trademark, and will confuse the consumers as to the origins of the products.
Al Durra Food Products Co., also has prior use of the subject trademark in the same class in Syria and worldwide.
Based on the above reasons, Al Durra Food Products Co.’s trademark has become a famous trademark amongst their client base and the public.
The defendant submitted a counter statement claiming that the opposition was submitted after the expiration of the opposition period, and their reply also stated that they have the right of ownership of the subject trademark, since they have a prior application for registration in the West Bank, despite the fact that the opposer had prior registrations in many countries around the world. They requested a rejection of our opposition and to carry on with their registration procedures.

The Registrar issued his decision to cancel the said application procedures, based on the following:
The opposition was submitted during the legal opposition period for that mark.
The Syrian company submitted evidence that they own the trademark since 2001 (in their home country and worldwide), and that date is before the date of submitting the opposed application.
The defendant did not submit any evidence to prove their prior ownership of “Durra”.
A trademark being accepted and published in the Official Gazette does not grant ownership of that trademark according to the law.
The defendant appealed before the High Court. After several hearings, the court issued its decree to support the Registrar’s decision and stop the trademark registration procedure, and this decision is final.
For more information regarding the West Bank, please contact west-bank@qumsieh.com.
 
WEST BANK Opposition Against ZAHI
United Brothers Co., a Palestinian company, filed on 29 June 2009 a trademark application for “ZAHI (in Latin and Arabic letters)” in class 30 under no. 16371. The application was published on 26 April 2010.
Acting on behalf of  ZOUHAIR KATRANJI & SONS CO. (ZAHI FOR INDUSTRY & TRADE), a Syrian company, Qumsieh filed an opposition against the above application based on the following:
Earlier registrations by ZOUHAIR KATRANJI & SONS CO. for ZAHI in class 30 in their home country and abroad since the 1990s.
Prior use of the said mark in their home country and abroad by ZOUHAIR KATRANJI & SONS CO.
The trademark ZAHI has become a famous and well-known trademark due to the above reasons.
The infringing application is identical to ZOUHAIR KATRANJI & SONS CO. trademark, and will lead to confusing the consumers as to the origins of the products bearing that mark.
The defendant submitted a counter statement claiming that the opposition was submitted after the expiration of the opposition period, and their reply also stated that they have the right of ownership of the subject trademark, since they have a prior application for registration in the West Bank, despite the fact that the opposer had prior registrations in many countries around the world. They requested a rejection of our opposition and to carry on with their registration procedures.

After reviewing the file, the opposition, and the reply, the Trademark Registrar issued his decision to stop the registration procedures of the opposed trademark, and he supported this verdict by the following:
The opposition was submitted during the legal opposition period for that mark.
The Syrian company submitted evidence that they own the trademark since 1992 (in their home country and worldwide), and that date is before the date of submitting the opposed application.
The defendant did not submit any evidence to prove their prior ownership of “ZAHI”.
A trademark being accepted and published in the Official Gazette does not grant ownership of that trademark according to the law.
United Brothers Co. appealed before the High Court. After several hearings, the court issued its decree to support the Registrar’s decision to stop the trademark registration procedure, and this decision cannot be appealed further.
For more information please contact west-bank@qumsieh.com.

COMMENT
I am not sure whether as a resident of Ofra, which is not far from Ramallah, I can get licensed in the West Bank. It would be nice if the Palestinian Authority and the Israel Patent Authority could have some sort of cross-recognition for patent attorneys as New Zealand and Australia do, and as Canada and the US do. 

Than again, my Arabic is fairly basic, so I am not sure if I would manage.

NOTE – I’ve stuck to the term West Bank as used by Qumsieh. Feel free to read Judea & Samaria, Palestinian Authority, Palestine, Greater Israel, Occupied Territories, Liberated Territories, etc.

Maybe one day we can have a regional IP conference with representatives of Egypt, Israel, Gaza (Hamastan), Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Chance would be a fine thing!

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