The international classification of goods and services is followed in Kuwait but it has not yet adopted the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification of goods and services. The Trademark Law does not provide for the protection of trademarks covering alcoholic drinks in classes 32 and 33 and pork meat in class 29. Class No. 33 has been completely dropped and international class 34 has been reinstated for tobacco products. A separate application should be filed with respect to each class of goods and services.
Once a trademark application is filed, the trademark is examined as to its registrability. In case the Registrar rejects a trademark, the applicant may file an appeal in court within 30 days as of the date of the official notification. Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in three consecutive issues of the Official Gazette of Kuwait (Al-Kuwait Al-Youm). There is a period open for filing opposition by any interested party. The statement of opposition to the registration of a trademark should be submitted to the Registrar within the prescribed term of thirty days, as from the date of the last (third) publication of the relevant notice in the Official Gazette.
An opposition statement requires a counter statement to be filed within 30 days by the applicant in order to maintain the trademark application in force. All opposed trademark applications remain pending with the Registrar until he takes a decision or a court decision is issued in favor of either party or an amicable settlement is reached by the parties concerned. In the absence of opposition, the relative certificate of registration will be issued.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years as from the date of filing the application, renewable for similar periods of ten years each upon submitting an application for renewal during the last year of the protection period of the trademark.
The Trademark Law provides for a six-month grace period for late renewal of a trademark registration subject to payment of a lateness fine. A trademark, which lapses, may be re-registered in the name of a third party at any time.
The assignment of a trademark can be recorded once the trademark is registered. In fact, unless an assignment has been entered against the trademark in the register, the assignment shall not be effective vis-à-vis third parties. Recordal particulars are endorsed on the certificate without publishing it in the official gazette . The assignment of a trademark should be along with goodwill but once the new law comes into effect, assignments with or without the goodwill of the business concern may be filed. Changes in the name or address of a registrant, amendment of a trademark and limitation of goods covered by a registration can be recorded as well. However, recording of licenses or registered users is not applicable in Kuwait.
Use of trademarks in Kuwait is not a prerequisite for filing applications for registration or for maintaining trademark registrations in force. However, a trademark registration is vulnerable to cancellation by any party who can convince the court that the trademark was not actually used in a serious manner for five consecutive years, or that there was no bona fide of using the trademark on the goods in respect of which the trademark was registered.
Unauthorized use of a trademark registered under the law or an imitation of such a trademark applied on goods of the same class, or sale, storing for the purpose of sale, or exhibiting for sale of goods, bearing a counterfeit mark by another person to serve the purpose of unauthorized promotion of goods of the same class, are offenses punishable under the law in Kuwait.