Libya Patent Law
* Patents, Industrial Designs and Models Law No. 8 of 1959
* Libya is a member of the Paris Convention and of the PCT.
* Although the Law in Libya has not yet been amended to recognise the PCT, however, PCT applications are being accepted and processed by the patent office.
Patent Filing requirements in Libya:
* full particulars of the applicant
* Power of attorney (legalised), in Arabic
* deed of assignment (if applicable; legalised), in Arabic or with Arabic translation
* specification (including claims, drawings and abstract), in Arabic
* Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable), with Arabic translation
* Certificate of incorporation or extract from the commercial register for the applicant (legalised).
The Libyan Patent Office requires that all the above documents (with the exception of the priority document) must be submitted on the filing date. Some local agents are able to file without all the documents, but this is a practice concession and, as such, it can change at any stage and should not be relied on. If the certified copy of the priority document is not submitted before the three months deadline, the claim to priority will be abandoned and the application will proceed as a non-convention patent application.
Libya Patent Registration Procedure
Patent applications are filed at the Libyan Patent Office.
Applications for patents are subjected to both formal and substantive examination. The examination includes examination for novelty, sufficiency and clarity.
The patent office may require amendment of the application to comply with the requirements for patentability. If the applicant does not amend the application to overcome the objections raised by the patent office within six months, the application will be considered to be abandoned.
Applications which meet the conditions for patentability and which comply with the formal requirements are published in the Patent Journal for purposes of opposition. If no opposition is filed, the patent will proceed to grant and the grant shall again be published in the Journal.
Any interested party may oppose the issuing of a patent by filing a notice of opposition within two months from the publication in the Journal. No specific grounds of opposition are stipulated.
If is not obstacles are rise the patent is registered.
The timeframe for patent registration in Libya is from 3 to 5 years, approximately.
Subject to the exception regarding the duration of patents relating to foodstuffs, medicines and pharmaceutical preparations, the initial term of a patent is 15 years. It is possible to obtain an extension of five years if the patentee can show that the invention is of ‘unique importance’ and that he did not make sufficient profits during the initial 15 year term.
* The duration of patents relating to foodstuffs, medicines and pharmaceutical compositions is limited to 10 years and no extension of this term is available.
Maintenance fees are not payable on pending applications, but are payable annually after grant of the patent, on the anniversary of the filing date. A six month grace period is provided.
The Law is silent regarding the claiming of priority in terms of the Paris. Convention as such. However, it does state that if an application for a patent is filed in a state which treats Libya on a reciprocal basis, the applicant may, within one year of the filing date of the first application, apply in Libya for a patent for the same invention. In such cases, the date of the first application shall be the priority date.
* A certified copy of the priority document must be filed within three months of the filing date. If the priority document is not filed within the deadline, the priority claim will be lost.
Patents shall not be granted for the following:
* inventions, exploitation of which may result in breach of morals or public order.
* inventions related to foodstuffs, medicines or pharmaceutical preparations unless these products are made through special methods or chemical processes, in which case the patent shall be granted for the method of production rather than in respect of the products themselves.
Libya Trademark Law
Legal basis is the Trademark Law No. 40 of 1956 and Law No. 23 of 2010 regarding Commercial Activities.
Pursuant to Law No.40, 1956 and its amendments, the Libyan legislator regulates the protection of the trademark. Its provisions define the true nature of the trademark, the marks which are not registrable, registration procedures, the expiry of marks property and their mortgage, registration renewal and cancellation, the disputes concerning trademarks registration and property and how to solve these disputes as well as defining the officials' authorities for the implementation of the provisions of this law.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration only.
Languages: Arabic (official language)
Libya is a member of the following international agreements:
* Berne Convention (since 1976)
* Paris Convention (since 1976)
* Patent Cooperation Treaty (since 2005)
* WIPO Convention (since 1976)
Nice classification, 8th edition. A separate application has to be filed for each class. It is possible to claim class heading provided that the headings are specified and use of the phrase "all goods/services" in the class is not acceptable. Not included are the class 33, alcoholic goods in class 32, Christmas trees and related products in class 28. Pork meat in class 29 cannot be registered. Service marks can be registered according to the 8th edition of Nice Classification.
* A power of attorney signed and stamped by the applicant’s company and legalized up to the Libyan Consulate in the applicant’s home country is needed.
* An extract of the entry of the applicant company in the Commercial Register legalized up to the Libyan Consulate.
Both documents should be submitted with the application. Late filing of necessary documents is not possible except for trademark applications with priority claim which can be filed with simple copies of the required documents whilst the originals of same should be submitted within two (2) months from the date of filing. The required documents which need to be translated into Arabic is sufficient for filing any number of trademark applications of the same applicant. Filing by simple copies of the required documents is not allowed.
Libya Trademark Registration Procedure
The application is filed at the Trademark Office.
It takes around 3-5 days from the date of submitting the document at the Trademark Office to obtain the official notice of filing trade/service mark.
It takes approx. 10-12 months to obtain the official letter of acceptance. The examination process includes examination on formal, absolute and relative grounds which includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks.
It takes between 12-14 months for publication in the Official Gazette of Trademarks (includes the applicant’s name & address, filing number and date, mark print, class, statement of goods/services). However, given the ongoing civil war in the country, publication of trademark applications has been suspended for a while with the last Gazette issued back in 2015. As of now, there is no official notification on when the matter will be resolved.
The process of issuing the registration certificate is very slow because the Libyan Trademark Office has recently started to issue registration certificates which is taking a long time to finish the backlog of old trademarks.
National Opposition Period
The opposition period is 3 months from the publication of the trademark application. This period is not extendable. In case the registrar refused the opposition the case will be transferred to the competent tribunal.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approximately 24 months.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of filing. It is renewable for further periods of 10 years each.
Any person concerned may submit to the office a written notification of his objection to the registration of the trade mark together with the grounds of opposition. The office must serve on the applicant for registration a copy of the notification of objection. The applicant must submit to the office his written response to the objection within the term prescribed.
The opposition is heard by the Registrar of Trade Marks and, if the matter is not settled or a party is unhappy with the Registrar’s decision, the matter may be referred to the Tribunal. The Law also makes provision for appeals to the Federal Supreme Court.
Grounds of opposition
The registration of a trade mark may be opposed on the ground that the mark is not registrable as a trade mark. The following marks shall not be registrable as trade marks:
* marks that contain no distinctive signs of authenticity, or which consist of signs or titles which are, by custom, assigned to the products themselves or to any ordinary drawing or picture thereof
* marks which are contrary to good morals or public order.
* public emblems, official signs and stamps and imitations thereof, flags and other symbols of the State or of any other state dealing with Libya on a basis of reciprocity.
* marks which are identical with or similar to symbols of a purely religious character.
* symbols of the Red Crescent or the Red Cross or other similar symbols.
* pictures or mottos of any other person, unless the use thereof is approved by him.
* descriptions of honorary titles to which the applicant cannot prove his legal title.
* marks which may mislead the public or which contain any misstatements about the origin or description of the products.
* marks which contain a fictitious, imitative or forged commercial name.
A trade mark registration may be removed from the register by an order of court. Grounds for cancellation for removal of a trade mark. The court of first instance may, upon the application of any person
concerned, order the cancellation of a trade mark registration where it is satisfied that the trade mark in question has not been seriously used for five consecutive years, unless the proprietor of the marks shows a reasonable cause for non-use.
In addition, the trade marks office and any person concerned shall be entitled to apply for a judgment cancelling any marks which might have been unjustly registered. The ownership of a trade mark cannot be placed in dispute where it has been used by the person who has registered it for a continuous period of at least five years from the date of registration, in the course of which period no claim against the registration has been judged to be valid.
To avoid a risk of cancellation on the ground of non-use, the owner must ensure that a period of five consecutive years does not elapse without the mark being seriously used, unless he can show reasonable cause for nonuse.