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Afghanistan (AF)

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03-14-2017 (Newsletter Issue 5/17)
Accession to Paris Convention and Singapore Treaty
WIPO notifies the accession of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of March 20, 1883, as revised at Stockholm on July 14, 1967, and as amended on September 28, 1979 (Paris Convention) and to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, adopted at Singapore on March 27, 2006.

The accession of both, the Paris Convention and the Singapore Treaty, will enter into force on May 14, 2017.


07-12-2016 (Newsletter Issue 13/16)
Suggested Procedure on Single Class Applications
The General Director of Central Business Registry & Intellectual Property sent an official suggestion letter to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries which includes the following:

- Each trademark in each class should be registered via a standalone application and multiple class applications will not be accepted.
- Registration fee, application fee and classification fee should be deposited by the applicant at the time of filing the application in a single payment.
- Validity of distributorship certificates should not exceed from one year, in case, if the validity of distribution contract is for more than one year then the distributorship certificate should be renewed after one year following the registration date.
- The handwriting system should be changed to a modern and computerized system.

Further, the Office informed verbally that renewal and recordals of the trademarks which have been registered via multiple class applications will be renewed and recorded via multiple class applications. Also, pending applications will follow the old system.

Source: JAH & Co. IP, Qatar

04-05-2016 (Newsletter Issue 6/16)
Change from Multi- to Single-Class System
The Afghan Trademark and Patent Office (TMO) has shifted its classification system from multi-class to single class applications. The said decision was communicated via email circular.

The notification was not clear on how the TMO is going to treat pending trademark applications as well as trademark registrations following this new classification system.

More clarifications will follow as soon as available.

Source: JAH & Co. IP, Qatar

05-02-2012 (Newsletter Issue 7/12)
New IP Office and Procedures
The Afghanistan Government announced that the Trademark Registration Department has been relocated from the Commercial Court to the newly formed Intellectual Property Office (IPO) within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as of April 4, 2012.

The opening of the new Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is expected to be on May 12, 2012.

In the meantime, the IPO is planning to unofficially receive applications and once the office becomes operational it will start giving formal application numbers.

The IPO will enforce the Trademark Law No. 995 dated September 1, 2009 and the new Rules and Regulations which will be finalized and approved by the Afghan Parliament.

In line with this change, some amendments have been made to the requirements and procedures for trademark registration, these changes include:

- Application shall undergo an examination before acceptance; the time frame needed for completing the examination is 15 working days as of the application date.
- The priority will be allowed based on the reciprocity principle.
- The time frame for registration is three (3) months as of the application date.
- The registration will be given only for all the goods/ services falling in the class(s) in which the registration is sought for, and there is no provision to apply for limited goods/ services.
- Applications can be filed with a copy of legalized Power of Attorney; meanwhile, the original document duly legalized and attested by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be submitted at the time of obtaining the registration certificate.
- All the documents submitted should be accompanied with certified local language translations.
- In accordance with the new system, the official fees will be modified as well. The new fees will shortly be approved by the Afghan Parliament and applied on the applications filed before at the Commercial Court, but not yet completed the procedures.

More information will follow.


02-24-2011 (Newsletter Issue 3/11)
Cancellation Actions, Change in Practice
According to the new Trademark Law which was revised in January 2011 by the Afghani Parliament, filing a cancellation action against a registered trademark can be made within 12 months from the date of registration instead of 36 months. Any person can file a cancellation action.

Requirements are:
- Power of attorney legalized up to the Afghani
- Consulate abroad.
- Evidence of prior registration or use.

The Action is filed before the Commercial Court and may take around 12-18 months.

Source: NJQ and Associates

Legal basis the trademark laws of Afghanistan in force since September 1, 2009.
Member of the Paris Convention and the Singapore Treaty as of May 14, 2017.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
Nice classification, 9th edition
Exception: There is no trademark protection for alcoholic beverages.
Any pictures or other signs which are contrary to the public order or supposed to be immoral are not registerable – on a case by case basis. Foreign words are not translated.
Registrable as a trademark are all distinctive and graphically representable signs, three-dimensional forms and any combination of the mentioned signs. Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if distinctiveness has been acquired by use.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks. The trademarks laws of Afghanistan are silent regarding the registration of collective and certification trademarks.
The application is filed at the Afghan Trademark and Patent Office (TMO).
TMO has shifted its classification system from multi-class to single class applications. Multi-class applications are not any more possible. The new regulation of filling separate applications per mark per class will only be applied for applications filed after March 11, 2016, and not for the previously filed applications.
A power of attorney authenticated by an Afghan Consulate is necessary.
All the documents submitted should be accompanied with certified local language translations.
Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks.
Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the official gazette prior to registration.
The approximate time frame for completing the registration process of a trademark in Afghanistan is 5-9 months.
Objection to the registration of a trademark must be filed no later than one month from the date of publication of the trademark in the official gazette. Opposition against a registered trademark must be filed no later than one year from the date of registration of the trademark.
Protection begins with the date of application. A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
The Trademark Laws do not contain any provision for grace periods in Afghanistan. In practice the trademark department will allow a 6 month grace period from the expiration date.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
If the trademark has not been used within 3 years from registration it may be subject to cancellation.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official fees for filing a trademark application are estimated to be around AFN 12,350.

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Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

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Niazi & Massoun Consultancy, Kabul, Afghanistan

Law Offices of A. Rahman Rahimghiyasa, Kabul, Afghanistan

Niazi & Massoun Consultancy, Kabul, Afghanistan

Law Offices of A. Rahman Rahimghiyasa, Kabul, Afghanistan

Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Trademark Registration Office