Author(s): Rakan F. Alrdaan
In its efforts to meet its international obligations-in particular the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property (TRIPS Agreement), Saudi Arabia is devoting more attention to well-known trademarks. Well-known trademarks-those that are widely recognised by the general public and enjoy strong brand recognition-play a significant role in global markets. The aim of this article is to cast a spotlight on well-known trademarks in Saudi Arabia-particularly, the point at which a trademark can be considered “well-known”, and how the law protects those well-known trademarks. This issue will be explored in relation to both the Saudi Trademarks Law 2002 and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Trademarks Law, as both are the governing trademark laws in Saudi Arabia. This article reveals that neither the Saudi Trademarks Law 2002, nor its judicial practices, provide any clear criteria as to what constitutes “well-known trademarks”. This is in contrast to the GCC Trademarks Law which explicitly provides for some workable criteria. Furthermore, whilst both laws afford legal protection to well-known trademarks in accordance with the Paris Convention and TRIPS Agreement, the GCC Trademarks Law offers greater protection compared to that of the Saudi Trademarks Law 2002.