Protection of Property Rights
In 2004, the Kuwait Customs authority established a special IPR unit and began taking enforcement actions. Other Kuwaiti ministries, most notably the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, began taking a more active role in copyright enforcement.
Kuwait’s patent and trademark legislation passed the National Assembly in December 2000 and took effect on 14 January 2001. The legislation was to make Kuwait compliant with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The legislation affords protection of twenty years and extends coverage to include pharmaceuticals. Industrial designs and integrated circuits are afforded protection of between 10 to 15 years. Trademarks can be registered in Kuwait for ten years and renewed in additional ten-year increments indefinitely. If a trademark has not been used for a five-year period, an interested party can apply to the judicial system to have the trademark rescinded. Registration affords the owner exclusive rights to use the trademark, and third parties would be barred from the use of the trademark. Since trademark registration is linked to the Kuwaiti agent, the trademark would need to be again registered when a mark holder signs a new agent or distributor.