INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN MOROCCO DURING COVID-19 (UPDATES AND RECOMMANDATIONS)

In this period of confinement and very legitimate questions about the legal implications related to the protection of Intellectual Property Titles in Morocco coinciding with the spread of COVID 19, H&H IP LAW decided to draw up this information note  in order to update you about the specific measures taken by our firm as well as by the various institutions having a direct link with our field of action, namely the Moroccan Industrial Property Office (OMPIC) and the courts and this following the declaration of the state of health emergency in Morocco in order to contain the propagation of the pandemic of Coronavirus (Covid-19) decreed on 23-03-2020 for a first period from March 20, 2020 to April 20, 2020 at 6 p.m., then extended, by decree dated April 18, 2020 for a second period from April 20, 2020 to May 20, 2020, at 6 p.m. (Except extension).

Measures taken by our Firm H&H IP LAW

In order to preserve the individual health of our employees and their loved ones, H&H IP LAW has decided to limit the travel of its employees to the office as much as possible until further notice. In addition, in order to be able to guarantee the continuity of our services while maintaining the same quality, we have implemented a remote working protocol which guarantees the quality of work, data security and confidentiality without interrupting activities. 

In addition and in a spirit of solidarity, the H&H IP LAW firm took the following decisions: 

  • Support and accompaniment of the holders of innovative projects: This initiative concerns the holders of an invention (physical or legal persons considered as VSEs / SMEs), having as objective the direct management of the COVID-19 pandemic and bearing an aspect in the public interest: Support for the registration and management of the related property title (Trademarks / Industrial models / Patents for invention), with the responsible administration (OMPIC), and this free of charge (Professional fees) ;
  • The application of a 5% discount on our professional fees: This offer concerns new customers in order to encourage them to protect their intangible assets during the period of the state of health emergency.

Measures taken by the Moroccan TMO (OMPIC)

By a briefing note dated 28-03-2020, the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property – OMPIC decided to apply the provisions of article 6 of the legislative decree, decreeing a state of health emergency in Morocco , by the suspension of all the deadlines provided for acts and operations with the said Office and which are governed by law 17-97 on the protection of industrial and commercial property in Morocco and this from March 24, 2020.

Thus, the aforementioned deadlines will resume from the day following the lifting of the state of health emergency, in accordance with the provisions of article 6 of the said decree-law (May 20, 2020, at 6 p.m. – Except extension).

However, the same note indicates that this suspension of time limits does not apply to the time limits provided for in international industrial property conventions and treaties ratified by the Kingdom of Morocco.

That said, we bring to your attention that, for the sake of good management of IP titles and in order to avoid any omission in the future to carry out an act, it is always possible to carry out all operations, with the TMO (OMPIC), according to the initial deadlines. Since OMPIC has not declared any interruption of its services, but calls on users to avoid travel by using online services which currently concern all operations without exception.

Courts/Judicial procedures

By decree-law on the state of health emergency and its application to the various institutions, it was decided to suspend all legal and regulatory deadlines, as provided in article 6 of said decree-law. Legal deadlines are understood to mean, inter alia, the deadlines for appeal procedures (appeal, cassation appeal, etc.).

This provision implies that the said deadlines will stop running during the state of emergency and resume the day after its lifting, according to the provisions of article 6 of the said decree-law (May 20, 2020, at 6 p.m. – Except extension).

In addition, the same article 6 specifies the cases of exceptions and which concern: the delays on appeal concerning persons prosecuted in detention, as well as the periods of placement in police custody and preventive detention.

Recommendations of our firm during the containment period

– Check the intellectual Property portfolio;
– Maintain any eventual filing application for protection purposes;
– Prepare the extension of the activity abroad by conducting the necessary registrations;
– Maintain anti-competitive intelligence (The focus on e-commerce of counterfeit products and cybersquatting);
– review the contracts established with distributors or suppliers and renegotiate the terms of said contracts, if necessary, in order to adapt them to the current situation;
– Take advantage of the free time to develop the business and expand your IP title portfolios.

Accordingly, we bring to your kind attention that our team will be pleased to assist you on the various aforementioned subjects. This said, kindly do not hesitate to contact us for more information and / or clarification at the following e-mail address: info@hnh-iplaw.com

Furthermore, we bring to your attention that by order of the head of government, it was decided to return to the GMT time zone in Morocco, from April 19, 2020 at 3:00 a.m. until May 31, 2020 at 2:00 a.m. and this coincides with the holy month of Ramadan scheduled for the weekend.

Finally, H&H IP LAW wishes to express its deep solidarity to those directly and indirectly affected by the epidemic.

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