Trademark is a sign or symbol or combination thereof that identifies a product or service and is used to differentiate among several products or services. A trademark bears legal credibility and protection when it is registered per the trademark registration law.
Trademarks registration in Afghanistan is mandated by the Trade Mark Registration Law. The following is a brief discussion of pertinent provisions of the Trade Mark Registration Law for those seeking registration of their trade marks in Afghanistan:
- According to its second article, the purpose of the Trade Mark Registration Law is to regulate the procedure for registration of trademarks related to produced goods, industrial, business, telecommunication and other services.
- The third article of the law proves, that the owner of a trademark is the person to who a trade mark has been legally registered, transferred, devised or inherited and owns the trademark without any legal burdens.
- The sixth article provides for who may seek registration or a trademark and benefits of the trade mark law. According to this provision, all those who for the purpose of differentiating and identifying of a product seek to exclusively use a trade mark may apply for its registration. Owners of foreign businesses in trade, manufacturing, telecommunication, agriculture, and services sectors may receive the benefits of the aforementioned law if they have lawfully registered their trademarks.
- Recognized Trade Marks: a recognized trade mark referred to a trademark that is well-known in more than two countries or internationally recognized. The recognized trademarks owners may benefit from the protections of the trademark registration law even if their trademarks are not registered in Afghanistan.
- Trade Mark Registration Law allows the applicant to apply for the registration of their trademark either personally or through their authorized agent/attorney. The Central Business Registry is obligated to receive such applications, register the trade mark and return a receipt of the registration to the applicant.
- In order to register, a trade mark must contain, date of registration (dd/mm/yy), the name, occupation, residential address, and citizenship of the applicant, name and description of the product, the sign, symbols and words forming the trademark.
- The trademark is deemed protected from the day that the application is received by the Central Business Registry, and the protection will expire in after ten years, but is renewable in 10 years increments per the request of the applicant. The renewal application must be submitted by the applicant to the Central Business Registry within 6 months of the expiration date.
- Article 22 of the Trade Mark Registration Law discusses situations in which the ownership of a trademark is dismissed. According to this article, unless a trademark owner provides good reason, a trademark ownership terminates if a trademark owner runs out of business that is identified by the registered trade mark, the trade mark is sold or transferred according to the law, not renewed within six months of its date of expiry, and not used consecutively for three years.