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Tunisian trademarks law

Tunisian Trademarks law

The protection of (national) trademarks is ensured by the Tunisian trademarks Law No. 2001-36 of April 17, 2001, on the Protection of Trademarks & Trade Services, amended and supplemented by the Law No. 2007-50 of 23 July 2007.

The Tunisian trademarks Law gives legal protection to Tunisian and foreign marks. However, foreign marks enjoy also the legal provisions of the Conventions and Treaties ratified by Tunisia in respect of marks.

Overview on the Tunisian trademarks Law

Definition

According to Provision 2 of the Tunisian trademarks Law, a trademark or service mark shall be a visible sign to distinguish goods offered for sale or services rendered by a natural or legal person. In particular, this sign may consist of:

  • All designation forms such as: Words, groups of words, surnames, geographical names, pseudonyms, letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Graphic signs such as: Drawings, holograms and shapes in particular those related to the product, its method of presentation, or those which distinguish the services, the arrangements of colours, mixing of colours or the separation of the grades of colours.
  • Phonic signs such as musical tunes and sentences.

Ownership

According to Provision 6 of the Tunisian trademarks Law, the ownership of a trademark is acquired by registration which confers an exclusive right to use the trademark and protection against possible infringers and imitators, etc. Protection is provided for a period of 10 years, renewable indefinitely.

Opposition

In accordance with Provision 11 of the Tunisian trademarks Law, the opposition on trademark application may be made by:

  • The owner of a mark which, was previously registered or filed or which enjoys the priority right stipulated in article 18 of this law with respect to the registration of the mark.
  • The owner of a previous well-known mark.
  • The holder of an exclusive license provided that the contract does not stipulated otherwise.

The opposition shall be submitted to the legal representative of the Tunisian Trademarks office within the two months following the publication date of the application according to the procedures determined by the Decree No. 2015-303 of June 1, 2015, establishing the Procedures for the Registration of and Opposition to the Registration of Trademarks and Service Marks, as well as the Procedures concerning Recording in the National Register of Marks.

Rights Conferred by a Tunisian Trademark Registration

In accordance to Provision 21 of the Tunisian Trademarks Law, a Trademark Registration shall confer to its holder the right to own this mark with respect the requested goods or services. Without the consent of the owner, others are prohibited from:

Reproduction, usage or placing a mark even with the addition of such words as “composition, style, system, imitation, type or method” as well as usage of a reproduced mark with respect to products or service similar to those indicated in the registration. Deletion or alteration of a mark which was legally placed.

In case there is a possibility of confusion, it is prohibited without the owner’s license:

  • Reproduction, usage or placing a mark as well as usage of a reproduced mark on goods or services similar to those indicated in the registration.
  • Counterfeit of a mark and using a counterfeit mark on goods or services identical or similar to those listed in the registration.

Transfer of the Rights Associated with a Tunisian Trademark Registration

According to Provision 26 of the Tunisian Trademarks Law : Every assignment or change of the rights associated with a Tunisian Trademark Registration shall be recorded on the National Trademarks Register to be effective against third parties. The assignment or lien must be in written, otherwise it will be null and void.

Loss of the Rights Associated with a Tunisian Trademark Registration

In Accordance with Provision 34 of the Tunisian Trademarks Law, the rights of the owner of a Trademark registration may lapse if, without an excuse, did not seriously use the mark for at least five consecutive years on one of the goods or service listed in the registration.

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