Qatar Issues The FIFA Intellectual Property Law

September 28, 2021

By: Ribal Fattal, Senior Associate. 

On July 29, 2021, the Emir issued a significant new legislation, namely, FIFA IP Law No. 11 of 2021 on the Protection of Trademarks, Copyrights and Related Rights of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”). The Law is an essential legislation key to Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The FIFA IP Law provides substantial protection for FIFA’s intellectual property rights by easing and simplifying the registration of such material with the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Department (“Department”) at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and by recognizing that FIFA’s trademarks are “well-known” trademarks and are therefore protected under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) to which the State of Qatar is a signatory.

Further, the FIFA IP Law governs processes relating to (i) FIFA inquiries regarding existing intellectual property registered with the Department, (ii) registering FIFA’s intellectual property with the Department, whether directly by FIFA or by a delegate (provided that the delegation instrument is duly attested), (iii) appealing the Department’s decision should an application for intellectual property registration submitted by FIFA be rejected, and (iv) any objections by third parties to the Department’s decision approving the registration of FIFA’s intellectual property, after publishing the same in the Gazette.

The Department’s responsibilities with respect to registering FIFA’s intellectual property are also set out in the FIFA IP Law, which provides for accelerated registration and decision timings. The Department is also required to notify FIFA should it become aware of a third party’s application for registering a similar or identical trademark or one including indications that may lead to public confusion regarding whether the trademark is related to FIFA. The Department must also inform FIFA of its decision to reject such an application within 10 days from the decision’s issuance.

Under the FIFA IP Law, FIFA is exempted from submitting the statement required by Article 45 of Law No. 7 of 2002 on the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights which stipulates that an applicant should submit related material with the intellectual property registration application, such as the name of the author or authors in respect of joint works or the name of any owner of related rights, the subject matter of the work or subject matter of the related rights, a written statement by the authors of the ownership of a work, or any related right and rights conferred on them.

FIFA is also exempt from paying registration fees in respect of its trademarks, works, audio recordings, performer’s rights, and radio broadcasts.

With regard to any subject matter not dealt with under the FIFA IP Law, the provisions of Law No. 7 of 2002 on the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights and Law No. 9 of 2002 on Trademarks, Commercial Data, Trade Names, Geographical Indications and Industrial Designs, will apply.

The FIFA IP Law came into force on September 8, 2021, complementing the FIFA Enabling Law No. 10 of 2021.

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