What is a TM?
A Trademark is a recognizable insignia, phrase, word, or symbol that denotes a specific product and legally differentiates
it from all other products of its kind. A trademark exclusively identifies
a product as belonging to a specific company and recognizes the company's ownership of the brand.
A trademark can be a corporate logo, a slogan, a brand, or simply the name of a product.
Why Register a Trademark in Afghanistan?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
Once registered, it enables the trademark owner to amongst other things- take legal action against anyone who uses
the registered mark without permission, sell and/or license the registered trademark (so in a sense it becomes an asset),
and allows the owner to legally put the ® symbol next to the brand – to show ownership and warn others against using it.
In Afghanistan, the legislation, which governs the registration of trademarks, is the Trade Marks Act (and the Trade Mark
Regulations made pursuant to it). The government agency in Afghanistan that is in charge of the registration of trademarks is
the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry. Applications are made to the Registrar of Trade Marks. This Department is charged
with the duty of dealing with applications for the registration of trademarks, and other connected matters.
Afghanistan is a party to the Nice Agreement and under this agreement, Trademarks are classified under 45 classes. Therefore, a trademark must be registered under the most relevant class.
Who can process a registration?
Under Afghanistan law, only accredited individuals/companies can register trademarks. So, if you are interested in registering your trademark you will need to hire the services of accredited agents for this process.
What is eligible for registration?
Device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, or any combination thereof; For it to be eligible for registration in Afghanistan it must contain or consist of at least one of the following essential particulars –
- the name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special or particular manner;
- the signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business;
- An invented word or invented words;
- a word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname;
- any other distinctive mark
Symbols that may not be used or registered as Trademarks
The following symbols may not be used or registered as trademarks:
- National flag, State emblems and other symbols pertaining to domestic or foreign organizations or institutions, international organizations or institutions, or any foreign county unless their use is authorized in writing.
- Adytum and pulpit or any marks which are identical or similar to symbols of a purely religious nature.
- The pictures of national leaders and high-ranking authorities of the State.
- Words and phrases that could be confused with the government departments of Afghanistan.
- Marks of official organizations such as: the Red Crescent, the Red Cross, or any other similar symbols as well as any mark which is an imitation thereof.
- Any marks repugnant to chastity, morality and public order.
- A mark which is not distinctive in character or property or where the mark consists of names commonly given by tradition to goods, products or services, or familiar drawings and ordinary pictures of goods and products. Such marks may be used generally, but may not be used or registered, and shall not be given any protection, as a trademark.
- Geographical names where the use thereof may cause confusion as to the origin or source of the goods, products or services.
- The name, surname, photograph or emblem of a third party, unless he/she or his/her heirs' prior consent to use has been obtained.
- Marks which may mislead the public or which contain false or deceptive information as to the origin, source, or any other characteristics of the goods, products or services, as well as marks containing an imaginary, imitated or forged trade name.
- Marks containing imaginary, imitative or forged names.
- Marks related to juristic or legal entities and the use of which is prohibited.
- Identical or confusingly similar signs for goods or services which are identical or similar to those in respect of which the trademark is registered, unless such use or registration is by or with the authorization of the owner of the registered mark.
- The registration of a mark which constitutes a reproduction, an imitation, or a translation, liable to create confusion, of a mark determined to be well-known in Afghanistan for identical or similar goods.”
- Marks which are used for specific purposes. identical or similar signs for goods or services which are identical or similar to those in respect of which the trademark is registered where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion.
Requirements for Trademark registration in Afghanistan
- Applicant’s details
- Trademark Information
- The full range of goods covered or proposed to be covered by the trademark.
- Power of Attorney/Authorization of Agent
Proprietorship of a Well-Known Mark
The proprietor of a well-known mark may enjoy the rights conferred by the provisions of these Articles, even if such mark is not registered in Afghanistan. The Central Registration Office (the Trademarks Section) shall be obligated to reject any trademark application similar to any such well-known international mark, unless the applicant is the owner or an agent of the owner of the well-known mark.
Types of Trade Marks
- Trademark: It is a sign that traders have exploited or intended to sell or discard items they want to sell after purchase, whether purchased from a major trader or directly from the manufacturer, regardless of the source of production.
- Industrial mark: It is a sign that the manufacturer wants it to mark thier products so that they do not differ from other similar products.
- Service mark: It is a symbol that is used to differentiate and distinguish a service from other services, such as transportation, tourist services, express mail, hosting, connection services, etc.
Things that can be considered as trademarks
- Distinctive and certain names A distinctive name that is included in a specific form or written in a certain color or combined in a special way can be recognized as a trademark, because one of the characteristics of a trademark is that it is distinct from other trademarks, otherwise it cannot be used. Help the wearer identify their favorite items, products, and services, such as an apple sign or an image of an apple.
- Letters, numbers: Specific letters and numbers can be used to differentiate and identify goods as a trademark, in which case other traders and producers cannot use the same letters or numbers to distinguish and identify similar goods and products, because its use has caused confusion and error. And misleads customers.
- Drawings, pictures, maps, etc. Any drawing, image or map that has a special shape can be used as a trademark, including drawing nature, drawing animals, drawing buildings, ships, cars, etc. still the image of a famous person or natural place The celebrity can also be considered as a trademark if the image of a famous person is chosen as a trademark, obtaining the permission of his heirs is a condition.
- Special covers, shapes and colors: Forming products, in a certain way, forming boxes, cans and bottles in which the materials are placed, all can be introduced as a trademark, still perfume bottles, gas drinks, mineral water and cartons in which the bottle is placed. It can also be a trademark.
Do you need to register a Trademark in Afghanistan?
In order to have exclusive use of your trademark, it is imperative that you register it. Unlike with copyright , protection does not vest automatically in the owner. Not registering a trademark would mean that you do not have exclusive right to use it. If someone were to use the same mark as you, the only recourse you would potentially have would be an action for the tort of passing off. So, yes you should register your trademark.
Process for Trademark Registration in Afghanistan
The Trademark registration process can be broken into 3 general stages:
- Availability Search – You conduct a search to determine whether there are registered marks that are similar to your proposed mark. The outcome of the search will help you determine whether the proposed mark may be registered or not.
- Trademark Application – If there is no similar mark, you may apply for registration. If the application is deemed registrable, the registry issues a Letter of Acceptance that serves as an approval in principle. After the acceptance has been issued, the mark is advertised in the Trademarks journal published by the Trademarks Office.
- Application for Certificate – Once the proposed mark has been advertised, an interested party may oppose the registration of the mark within 1 months of the advertised journal. If the mark is not opposed within 2 months, you may then apply to the Registrar for a Trademark Certificate.
- Issuance of Certificate – If there are no objections received, the Registrar will issue the applicant with a certificate of registration. When issued, the Registration Certificate will reflect the date of initial filing as date of registration.
Acceptance of documents for registration of trademarks for domestic applicants
real and legal persons, their lawyers or legal representatives are obliged to provide the following documents during the application for registration of their trademarks:
- A copy of the citizenship card of their chairman or deputy or their lawyer or legal representative
- Copy of activity license
- Sample of the requested mark in two modes (hard and soft) according to the responsible staff
* Foreign companies that want to register their trademarks in this office are required to provide the following documents:
- Preparing a power of attorney for a lawyer who introduces the purpose of registering their trademarks
- Document power of attorney must be approved by the relevant Afghan authorities residing in that country It also has Dari or Pashto translations With the seal of the official translation agency
- Foreign companies can by official letter Which has been completed by legal authorities during the legal process Introduce your lawyer or legal representative to Register their trademarks
- Sample of the requested mark in two modes (hard and soft) according to the responsible staff
* Foreign companies whose marks are registered in this office And want by contract Introduce the person or company as the sales agencies of their products and is obliged to provide the following documents:
- The existence of a contract that has a start and end date
- The agreement was approved by Afghan political representatives residing in the same country
- The authority of the agencies to the representative of the mark registration in the contract is mentioned
- The representative is obliged to approve the said agreement with the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs And translated Dari or Pashto into the official translation agency
- Copy of citizenship ID and copy of the representative's activity license
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT?
If you would like to register a Trademark in Afghanistan, you may find out more about the process by reading the Trademark Registration Frequently Asked Questions.
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