Qatar Issues New Law To Protect FIFA's Intellectual Property Rights1

On July 29, 2021, Law No. 11 of 2021 on Protection of Trademarks, Copyrights, and Related Rights of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was issued by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.  As the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held in Qatar, this law has been enacted to regulate and govern the registration of all Intellectual property Rights belonging to FIFA including trademarks, copyrights and other related rights.

The Law recognizes all FIFA trademarks as 'well-known trademarks' and accords protection regardless of whether such trademarks are registered in Qatar as long as protected in any country signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The Law lays down guidelines governing the process relating to 1) Inquiries submitted by FIFA regarding existing IP rights registered or pending for registration with the concerned Department 2) Registration of IP rights with the Designated Office at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ("MOCI") 3) Appeals against the decision issued by MOCI rejecting the application for registration of FIFA IP rights.

The Law further sets out the responsibilities of the Department which are mainly to ease the process of registration and accelerate granting its decisions. If the Department learns of a third party's application to register a similar or identical trademark or one that includes indicators that could cause confusion and deception about whether the trademark is affiliated to FIFA, it must notify FIFA within three days. Further, FIFA's applications for the registration of FIFA Trademarks must be decided by the Designated Office within 15 days of the date of submission of the application.

The FIFA IP Law has accorded some exemptions to FIFA including an exemption to pay any fees related to trademark, audio recordings, works, radio broadcast and performer's rights and from submitting a statement as required by Article 45 of Law No. 7 of 2002 on Copyright and Neighboring Rights ("Copyright Law").



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