Author(s): Dr. Christiane Bou Khater, Ms. Kholod AlKosayyer
The existence of counterfeit cosmetic products in Saudi Arabian markets prompted the government to enact laws to control the importation of such products, hence protecting consumers from the substandard quality of these products. A huge number and a large diversity of cosmetic products known across the globe are conquering the Saudi markets. The omnipresence of cosmetic products and their identification through specific trademarks, known as cosmetic trademarks (CMT) necessitated their protection in the Saudi markets. Over the years, the protection of CTM has not been studied and analyzed in Saudi Arabia, thus proving the existence of an intellectual gap that can be filled by an in-depth trademark study. The primary objective of this study is to expand the scope of trademark’s regulation and protection by incorporating CTM through the presentation of facts that answer questions regarding the laws that govern CTM and the ways of obtaining their protection. Saudi markets are rich with genuine high-quality cosmetic products with globally known CTM. However, the situation has since changed because of the smuggling of fake and cheap imports from different countries. Counterfeit cosmetic products constitute a huge portion of the products in most markets of the region, which made the Saudi legislature eager to come up with specific rules and regulations to combat trademark counterfeiting that is affecting the image of trademarks and misleading consumers by offering lower-quality products and services. The government has seized over 84 million fake goods since 2015 under the rules of trademark’s protection, a large portion of which includes food and cosmetic products. This study will reflect how the protection of CTM applies within the limits of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and analyze the different means of CTM’s enforcement and it will adopt for that purpose a mix of qualitative and quantitative method. The qualitative method is demonstrated in library research using primary and secondary sources, while the quantitative method is demonstrated in an online question-based survey that was randomly distributed. The survey was conducted between 24 October 2019 and 5 November 2019 with 126 participants from both genders living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the survey was to know the most purchased cosmetic products and the consumer awareness regarding the impact of cosmetic trademark preference in the choice of product. From another end, the survey aims to evaluate consumer behavior regarding counterfeited cosmetic products to determine whether it participate in the spread of counterfeited cosmetic products and cosmetic trademark imitation or not, in addition to consumers awareness of their rights in that matter. This survey will pave the way to understand the environment of the CTM’s enforcement.