Patent Law in Tunisia
The Patent Law No. 2000-84 of 2000 govern the Patents in Tunisia.
* Tunisia is a member of the Paris Convention, the Budapest Treaty, the PCT and the WTO/TRIPS.
Languages: Arabic (official language), French
Filing requirements for patent in Tunisia:
* Power of attorney (simply signed)
* Assignment from the inventor(s), or a statement by the applicant justifying its right to the invention (if applicable)
* Specification (including claims, drawings and abstract), in English or French or Arabic
* Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable). Failure to file the priority document within three months from the filing date will lead to the lapsing of the priority claim.
Tunisia Patent Registration Procedure
Non-convention, convention and PCT national phase applications are filed with the office of the Registrar of Patents at Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriete Industrielle (INNORPI).
Applications are subjected to formal examination only, which takes place automatically. If the application is found to comply with all requirements, a notification of the application will be published. The Tunisian Patent Office does not carry out any examination as to novelty or merit of the invention.
The Act makes provision for an opposition to a pending application. A memorandum with a notice of opposition must be filed at court within two (2) months from the date of publication referred to above.
After examination, if the Industrial Property Authority is satisfied that the requirements have been met, and if no opposition was entered or an opposition was decided by the competent court in favour of patentability, the patent shall be granted. Granted patents are published in the Official Bulletin.
The timeframe from filing to registration is from 2 to 3 years, approximately.
A patent is valid for 20 years as from the date of filing of the patent application.
Maintenance fees are payable on pending applications, and are payable annually calculated from the filing date. The first maintenance fee falls due on the filing date and annually thereafter. A six months grace period is provided, subject to payment of surcharges. If the renewal fee is not paid, the patent owner forfeits all his rights. The owner is notified of the forfeiture.
An applicant who has filed a patent application in a convention country is entitled to claim priority from such earlier application, provided the application in Tunisia is filed within 12 months from the earlier application.
The following shall not be deemed to be inventions and/or shall not be patentable in Tunisia:
* purely ornamental creations
* discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods
* schemes, rules and methods intended for use –
- in the performance of purely mental acts
- in games
- in the field of economic activity
- in connection with software
* methods of therapeutic and surgical treatment of the human body or animals, and diagnostic methods (this exclusion shall not apply to reparations or products and compositions for application in such methods)
* presentation of information
* all types of living substances existing in nature
* varieties of plants or animal breeds or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals (except biological processes used in medicine or products obtained from such processes)
* inventions the publication of which would be contrary to morality, public policy, public health or the environment.
Trademark Law in Tunisia
Legal basis is the Trademark Law No. 36-2001 of April 17th, 2001, in force since April 23rd, 2001.
Tunisia was a member of the Madrid Agreement until April 9th, 1988.
The Madrid Protocol has entered into force, with respect to Tunisia, on October 16, 2013 based on the application from Tunisian Government on July 16, 2013.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
* Tunisia is a member of the Paris Convention, the Nice Agreement, the Lisbon Agreement, the Vienna Agreement, and the WTO/TRIPS.
Nice classification, 11th edition. Multiple-class applications are possible.
A Simply signed Power of Attorney (POA) is sufficient, which can be submitted within three (3) months from the date of acceptance of the trademark applications.
Tunisia Trademark Registration Procedure
* The application is filed at the Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriété Industrielle (INNORPI).
* An application is examined on a formal and absolute grounds only to determine if the mark complies with local rules as to deceptiveness and distinctiveness. No search for prior registrations or applications is conducted. No examination on relative grounds.
Before registration, the trademark application is published in the monthly Patent Office Gazette “Al-Muwassafat”.
National Opposition Period
The opposition period is 2 months from publication date of the application.
If not obstacles are found, the trademark is registered.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 12- 14 months.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
Tunisia is a member of the Paris Convention, so that applicants who have applied to register a mark in another convention country have the right to claim priority, to be accorded the same date as the earlier application, provided the Tunisian application is filed within six months of the earlier filing date.
The Law provides that a mark will lapse if the owner, without excuse, did not seriously use the mark for the relevant goods or services for at least five (5) years. Serious use of the mark is defined to include:
* placing the mark on the goods or their packaging
* use of the mark with the consent of the owner.
Cancellation for removal of a trade mark in Tunisia
A registered trade mark is vulnerable to cancellation if it has not been seriously used for a continuous period of five years.
A registered trade mark may also be removed from the register if the trade mark was registered without any bona fide intention to use the mark, and there has in fact been no bona fide use of the trade mark up to the date one month before the date of the application for cancellation.
Opposition proceedings for a Trademark in Tunisia
An application for registration may be opposed by:
* the owner of a prior registered mark or a mark that is subject to a priority right
* the owner of an earlier well-known mark
* the holder of an exclusive licence, unless the contract stipulates otherwise.
The opposition shall be submitted to the legal representative of the industrial property authority within two months following the publication date of the trade mark application. The industrial property authority shall first try to reconcile the parties according to procedures to be determined by a ruling.
Grounds for opposition of a trademark in Tunisia
A mark may be opposed on the grounds that it is:
* a reproduction or an imitation of official slogans, flags, logos, or designations of any country or an international organisation, unless they are used with authorisation from the competent authority
* a reproduction or an imitation of official symbols or stamps sanctioned by a country for quality and assurance, unless their use is authorised by the competent authority
* in violation of public order or good morals or if its use is prohibited by law
* likely to mislead the public, particularly as concerns the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services
* a prior registered mark or a well-known mark
* a designation or a company name which may lead to confusion in trade
* a commercial name or a distinguished signboard which is known in the whole of Tunisia which may lead to confusion of the public
* a protected appellation of source
* a work in which copyright subsists
* a protected industrial drawing or design
* the essence of rights of other persons, including surnames, pseudonyms or pictures
* the name or picture of a local group.