Geographical Indications in Egypt and its effects on Trademark Registration

Geographical Indications (GI) are defined by the WIPO as “A sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. A sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin”. GI rights are territorial and are limited to the country/region where protection is granted and identify a good as originating from a specific geographical location. GI Rights enable right holders to use the GI on their products and to prevent its use by third parties whose products do not conform to set standards and criteria.

In Egypt, there is no specific system for the protection of GIs; however, in practice, the Egyptian Trademark Office has been known to reject any trademark that includes a geographical indication, city name or national/international identifier in accordance with Law No. 82 of 2002. Law No. 82 of 2002 on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, art 67(8) provides that, “The following shall not be registered as trademarks or components thereof…Marks and geographical indications which are likely to mislead or confuse the public or which contain false descriptions as to the origin of products, whether goods or services, or their other qualities, as well as the signs that contain an indication of a fictitious, imitated or forged trade name.”

In other cases, whereby the alleged GI is not a main element of the trademark, the registrar may issue a conditional acceptance asking for the disclaimer or deletion of the same from the trademark since it is considered misleading to the public about the origin, quality, and characteristics of the product.

GIs cannot yet be registered in Egypt, and therefore, to avoid citations, the proprietor must ensure that any allusion is removed prior to filing.

For more information please contact our Trademarks Department

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