Tunisia is a member to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property signed in 1883 and has ratified the texts of the Paris Convention as revised in The Hague (1925), in London (1934) and in Stockholm (1967). As of April 9, 1988, Tunisia withdrew from the Madrid Agreement with the result that national applications should be filed in the country to secure protection of trademarks. Existing international registrations will continue to be in force till their respective expiry dates. Renewals of the international registration may be effected by filing national renewal applications. For the purposes of the registration of trademarks, the international classification of goods and services is followed in Tunisia. An application for registration may include goods or services in any number of classes of the international classification with the payment of additional fees to cover the additional classes.

In the absence of examination by the registration authorities in Tunisia, a registration certificate is normally issued directly after filing the application for registration. As to the publication procedure, only a list of the trademarks registered is published in the quarterly gazette, Al-Muwassafat, published by the Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriete Industrielle (INNORPI). There are no provisions for opposition to the registration of trademarks.

A trademark registration is valid for fifteen years from the date of filing the application for registration renewable for similar periods indefinitely. The Trademark Law allows for a six month grace period for the renewal of a trademark. However, a renewal within that period may be completed with a fine depending on the number of months. Proceedings for the cancellation or invalidation of trademark registrations may be brought by interested parties before the Tunisian courts of law.

The assignment of a trademark registration should be recorded with the competent authorities. Unless it is entered in the records, a trademark assignment shall not be effective vis-a-vis third parties. The assignment of a trademark may be effected along with or without the goodwill of the business concern. Changes in the name and/or address of a registrant must be recorded.

There are no conditions imposed on registrants of trademarks regarding use of their trademarks in Tunisia. It is noteworthy that trademark rights are acquired only by registration. If a trademark is registered in Tunisia contrary to the provisions of the law, proceedings for the cancellation or invalidation of such a trademark registration may be brought before the Tunisian courts of law at any time. Any infringement or unauthorized use of a registered trademark is punishable under the provisions of the current Trademark Law in Tunisia.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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