Morocco Patent Law
* Law No. 17-97 of 2000 on Protection of Industrial Property (as modified and supplemented by Law no 31-05 on Protection of Industrial Property)
* Decree No. 2-00-368 of 2004, implementing Law no 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property (as amended by Decree no 2-05-1485 of 2006)
Languages: Arabic (official language), French
Filing requirements for Patent in Morocco:
* full particulars of the applicant
* Power of Attorney (simply signed)
* deed of assignment (simply signed; not required if the international application and PCT national phase application are filed in the same name)
* copy of the specification (including claims, drawings and abstract), in French
* certified copy of the priority document (if applicable)
* international preliminary report on patentability (for PCT national phase applications only).
- If the certified copy of the priority document is not submitted within the three (3) month deadline, then the claim to priority will be disregarded. In practice, the certified copy of the priority document does not need to be submitted for PCT national phase applications.
Morocco Patent Registration Procedure
The patent application is filed at the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office.
Applications for patents are subjected to formal examination and a certain level of substantive examination. The Law makes provision for refusal on certain specific grounds including non patentable subject matter, invention not industrially applicable, lack of unity of invention etc. A Patent Examiner reviews the application and searches the prior art to decide whether the application meets the requirements of patentability.
The PTO will prepare a preliminary search report with an opinion on the basis of the claims, descriptions and drawings, if applicable. The preliminary search report once prepared shall be notified to the applicant or his agent. Afterwards, a final search report will be issued.
The Law does not make any provision for the filing of opposition to a patent application.
A patent application will be published after a period of 18 months from the filing date or of the eldest priority date, if it is not rejected or withdrawn. Applications which meet the conditions for patentability and which comply with the formal requirements are granted and will then be published in the Patent Journal.
If a patent application is accepted, the applicant will be notified to pay an amount to obtain the patent letter and pay the due annuity fees.
Patents have a term of 20 years from date of filing of the application.
Annuities are payable in periods of five years, ie the 2nd – 5th annuities must be paid at the time of filing the application. The rest of the annuities are payable for periods of five years as follows: 6th – 10th, 11th – 15th, and 16th – 20th. A six month grace period is allowed. If the annuities are not paid within this period, the patent lapses.
Applications claiming priority will be recognised provided they are filed within 12 months of the priority application, and provided that the certified copy of the priority document is filed within three months of the filing date. If the priority document is not filed within the deadline, the priority claim will be lost.
Morocco is a member of the following international agreements:
* Berne Convention (since 1917)
* Brussels Convention on Programme-carrying Signals (since 1983)
* Budapest Treaty (since 2011)
* Hague Agreement on Designs (since 1930)
* Madrid Agreement on Source of Goods (since 1917)
* Madrid Agreement on Marks (since 1917)
* Madrid Protocol on Marks (since 1999)
* Nairobi Treaty on Olympic Symbol (since 1993)
* Nice Agreement on Classification of Marks (since 1966)
* Paris Convention (since 1917)
* Patent Cooperation Treaty (since 1999)
* Trade Mark Law Treaty (since 2009)
* UPOV Convention on New Varieties of Plants (since 2006)
* WIPO Convention (since 1971)
* WIPO Copyright Treaty (since 2011)
* WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (since 2011)
* WTO/TRIPS (since 1995)
The following are not regarded as inventions:
* discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods
* aesthetic creations
* schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers
* presentations of information.
Patents shall not be granted for the following:
* inventions the publication or implementation of which would be contrary to public policy or morality
* new plant varieties subject to the provisions of Law no 9-94 on the Protection of New Plant Varieties
* methods for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body. (This provision does not apply to products, in particular substances or compounds, for use in any of these methods.)
Morocco Trademark Law
The Moroccan Parliament approved on December 18th, 2014, a new Industrial Property Law published in the Official Gazette No. 6318 on December 18th, 2014. The new Law No. 23.13 amends and supplements Law No 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property which took effect on December 18th, 2014.
Morocco is a member of the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. The owner of a well-known mark within the meaning of the Paris Convention may claim cancellation of the registration of a mark that may be confused with his own mark. Such proceedings shall be prescribed five years after registration date, unless registration was applied for in bad faith.
Nice classification, 11th edition. Multiple-class applications are possible.
Power of Attorney (POA) simply signed.
Trademark Registration Procedure
* The application is filed at the ʻMoroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Propertyʼ in Casablanca, covering the whole Morocco.
* The Moroccan PTO examines an incoming trademark application with regard to compliance with formal requirements and absolute grounds for refusal. The PTO does not examine conflicts with prior identical or similar trademarks.
* The Moroccan Trademark office publishes all filed trademarks on a half-month basis to enable holders of protected trademarks to exercise their right of opposition. If no opposition is retained, the trademark is registered.
National Opposition Period
The opposition period is two (2) months from publication of the trademark in the Official Gazette. The opposition is done at OMPIC.
The processing time from first filing to registration is 6 to 8 months if no opposition is filed.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date and renewable indefinitely for the same period. The renewed trademark will keep the same number of the original Trademark.
* The new trademark law provides a six months period for the late renewal of a trademark. If a trademark registration is not renewed within the grace period as of the date of expiration, it will be canceled automatically.
Morocco is a member of the Paris Convention. An applicant who has applied for a trade mark in another convention country is entitled to a priority right to be accorded the same date as the first filed application, provided the Moroccan application is filed within six months of such earlier filing date.
Morocco is also a member of the Madrid Agreement and Protocol, so that registration of a trade mark may be obtained by way of an international application designating Morocco.
Use of marks in Morocco is not compulsory for filing applications or necessary for maintaining mark registrations in force. However, a mark registration is vulnerable to cancellation and can be canceled by any interested party, who can establish that the trademark was not actually used during the 5 years, which are usually calculated from the filing date, noting that filing date is considered as a registration date once the mark matured into registration.
An opposition is initiated by filing a statement with the body in charge of industrial property. The statement must also be sent to the trade mark applicant or its representative by registered mail. The opposition is recorded in the register.
The trade mark applicant may file a response to the opposition. After considering the opponent's grounds of opposition and the trade mark applicant’s reply, the body in charge of industrial property prepares a draft decision and sends it to both parties who have 15 days to object to the findings, failing which the decision becomes effective.
An opposition must be settled within six months of it being entered, or such further time as may be allowed upon application by either or both of the parties.
Grounds for opposition
The grounds of opposition include:
* that the mark is a sign or name which in everyday or technical language constitutes the necessary, generic or usual designation of the goods or services
* that the mark is a sign or name which may serve to designate a feature of the product or service, particularly the type, quality, quantity, purpose, value, geographical origin or time of production of the goods or furnishing of the service
* that the mark is a sign or name exclusively constituted by the shape imposed by the nature or function of the product, or which gives the product its substantial value
* that the mark incorporates an effigy of any member of the royal family, or official State insignia or emblems, or those of intergovernmental organisations
* that the mark is confusingly similar to an earlier registered trade mark or application in respect of the same or similar goods or services
* that the mark is misleading, or that its use would be contrary to law or morality
* that the use of the mark will be contrary to the rights of a well-known mark within the meaning of the Paris Convention.
- The above grounds of opposition are not exhaustive. Any impediment recognised in law to the registration of a mark may be raised as a ground of opposition.