Legislative Framework
Anti-counterfeiting Measures

Legislative Framework

The first law for the registration of patents and trademarks was adopted in 1931. This law, as amended in 1958 and together with supplementary regulations and the Paris Convention, establishes the legal framework for the registration and protection of trademarks and patents, and sets out the procedures for civil and criminal litigation.

In 1949 the Iranian National Assembly adopted regulations on the compulsory use of trademarks on pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and cosmetics.

Iran joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on December 14 2001, and thus paved the way to promote IP rights and accede to the treaties and agreements administered by WIPO. The Iranian Industrial Property Office (IIPO) has also taken positive steps to promote IP protection and encourage accession to international agreements and treaties.

On May 6 2001 the Council of Ministers issued a decree authorizing the State Organization for Registration of Deeds and Properties to prepare for Iran's accession to the Madrid Protocol.

Although trademarks may be used in Iran without registration, the owner of an unregistered trademark does not enjoy the privileges of the law to prevent and recover damages for infringements. The exclusive right to use any trademark rests only with the party that has registered the trademark.(1)


Iran's Trademark Law defines a 'trademark' as any type or form of mark, composed of a drawing, picture, number, wording, seal, phrase, special wrapping or the like, which is used to distinguish a particular industrial or agricultural product.(2)

A trademark that is used to distinguish the products of a group of farmers, industrialists or commercial firms, or a city or region, is regarded as a collective mark.(3)

Use of a trademark is optional, except in cases where the government has made this compulsory(4) (eg, for pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and cosmetics).

Iranian and foreign nationals with commercial, industrial or agricultural establishments in Iran may apply for the registration of their trademarks. Joint owners or users of a trademark may apply for the mark's registration by filing a single application. A trademark owner who has neither a domicile nor a business establishment in Iran must appoint a local attorney-at-law as its representative to participate in all proceedings before the IIIPO. The authorized agent must submit to the IIPO a legalized power of attorney signed by the trademark owner, along with a service address in Tehran.

The owner of a trademark may claim priority under the Paris Convention within six months of a prior filing date in another country, provided that reference to the prior application is made in the Iranian application.(5) Paris Convention priority must be claimed at the time the application is filed and a certified copy of the priority document must be submitted to the IIPO within six months of the filing date.

To qualify for registration, a mark must be sufficiently distinctive to be easily distinguishable from the marks of others. The following marks are automatically considered non-distinctive marks:

  • marks that are devoid of any distinctive character;

  • marks that consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value or place of origin of the goods;

  • marks that consist exclusively of signs or indications which designate the time of production; and

  • marks which have become customary in the language or in the good-faith and established practices of trade in the country where protection is claimed.(6)

Registration of a trademark gives the proprietor exclusive rights to use that mark with respect to the goods and/or services for which it is registered.(7) Third parties are prohibited from using, in the course of trade and without the consent of the proprietor, any sign that is identical or confusingly similar to the registered mark in relation to goods or services identical to those for which the trademark is protected. The proprietor of a registered trademark may enjoin any unauthorized use of the mark and may seek damages arising therefrom.

The right of exclusive use does not extend to use that:

  • is contrary to law;

  • is likely to create a risk of confusion with other marks;

  • is likely to mislead the public in any way, in particular as to the nature, quality or origin of the goods or services; or

  • infringes an industrial property right or any other exclusive right belonging to another person.

When the exclusive rights to a registered trademark are being infringed, the proprietor may apply to the Tehran Court of First Instance for an injunction prohibiting the infringing act. The court may order the seizure of any infringing goods and may provide for compensatory damages.

Non-registrable marks
A mark cannot be registered as a trademark or service mark if it:

  • has already been registered in the name of a third party;

  • has such a close resemblance to a existing registered mark that consumers may be confused;

  • closely resembles the national flag or decorations, medals or emblems of Iran;

  • incorporates a portrait of the national leaders;

  • is based on words and expressions that relate to the Iranian authorities; or

  • is contrary to public order or morality.

Duration of protection
A trademark enjoys protection for 10 years, which can be renewed indefinitely for additional 10-year period as of the tenth anniversary date of filing or before. A grace period of six months is allowed for late renewals, after which the trademark lapses.

Cancellation of registration
Registration of a trademark may be cancelled for the following reasons:

  • on request of the owner to surrender the registration in respect to some or all of the goods and/or services for which the trademark is registered;

  • on request of any person if, within three years of the date of registration, the owner has not put the trademark to use;(8)

  • on request of any person who considers the trademark to be his own;(9)

  • on request of any person who considers that the trademark sufficiently resembles his own as to confuse ordinary consumers;(10) and

  • on request of any person if the applicant was acting in bad faith when filing the application for registration.(11)

Collective marks
Chapter 1, Article 2(5) of the Patents and Trademarks Registration Regulations provides that collective marks are registrable. The registration and examination procedure for a collective mark is the same as that for other trademark or service mark applications. In addition to the general information and documentation required for all trademark or service mark applications, applicants must submit either (i) a notarized certificate issued by a competent authority attesting that the manufacturers of the goods covered by the mark enjoy the right of use of the mark, or (ii) a registration certificate from another country, certified by the issuing office.

Filing requirements
The following documents and particulars are required for the registration of a trademark:

  • the full name, address and nationality of the applicants, together with the commercial or industrial activity which they pursue;

  • a specification of the goods covered;

  • a power of attorney legalized by the Iranian consulate;

  • 12 prints of the mark (except for word marks). For three-dimensional marks, enough different views of the shape must be provided to represent the mark clearly; and

  • a certified copy of home registration, if any.


The applicable law for the registration and protection of patents is the Patent and Trademark Registration Act, which was approved in 1931.

Like trademarks, patents are granted on a first come, first served basis. Priority may be claimed within one year of an initial filing date subject to the Paris Convention.

Iran's patent system is declarative and patents are not subject to a substantive examination of patentability. For this reason the Patents and Trademarks Registration Act stipulates that a patent registration certificate is not proof of applicability, novelty or genuine practicality. It does not prove that the person who has been granted the patent, or his representative, is the actual inventor, or that the description or drawings of the patent are true. Interested persons may file a petition with the Tehran Court of First Instance in any of the above cases to prove that the statements are not true.(12)

On April 8 1997 the General Board of the Supreme Court's judgment on identical ruling, which has the force of law, was issued for the registration of pharmaceutical patents, the regsitration of which was previously prohibited under Section 3 of Article 28(3) of the Patent and Trademark Act. This judgment played an important role in the protection of pharmaceutical patents, which have been registrable since it was issued.(13)

Filing requirements
The following documents and particulars are required for registration of a patent:

  • the full name, address and nationality of the applicants, together with the commercial or industrial activity which they pursue;

  • the title of the invention;

  • a certified copy of the priority documents, or any foreign registration certificate or application;

  • a power of attorney certified and legalized by the Iranian consulate;

  • a certified copy of an assignment form. This is only necessary if the priority documents are in the name of the inventor and the applicant is different from the inventor. However, if the inventor is not mentioned in the priority document and the priority document is in the name of the applicant, there is no need for an assignment form; and

  • a set of specifications, claims and drawings.

Anti-counterfeiting Measures

A trademark or patent owner may take legal action to prevent third parties from infringing its rights of ownership. Remedies may include damages, costs and injunctions preventing further violations. In this connection, Article 49 of the Patents and Trademarks Registration Act and Articles 529 and 530 of the Islamic Penal Code, approved in 1996, declare that anyone who commits forgery or uses a forged trademark shall, in addition to being liable for compensation for damages incurred, be sentenced to imprisonment of between three months and two years. Meanwhile, anyone who comes into the possession of a third party's trademark in any manner contrary to the regulations, and who uses it or has it used in such a way as to prejudice the rights and interests pertaining thereto, shall, in addition to being liable for compensation for the damages incurred, be sentenced to imprisonment of between two months and two years.

In all cases concerning the rights and privileges that arise from the registration of trademarks and patents, the objector in the civil case or the plaintiff in the penal case may, at any time in the proceedings, ask the court or judicial authorities where the case is under consideration to issue a decree for the seizure of evidence or the confiscation of counterfeit goods or products. At the injured party's request, the court can also issue a decree temporarily restraining the manufacture, sale or import of the counterfeit goods.

The legal authorities are obliged to accept such a request. In the case of a request for seizure or for temporary restraint of the manufacture, sale or import of the goods, the legal authorities may ask the objector or plaintiff to offer an adequate bond from which all damages to the other party, including the loss of earnings, may be paid.

A trademark or patent owner, by a decree of the local public court where the goods subject to the claim exist, may prepare a detailed list of the goods against which the trademark or patent violation charges have been made. If the goods are in customs, the decree will be enforced by customs officials; otherwise it will be executed by an executive officer of the court. A certified copy of the trademark or patent registration certificate must be attached to the petition so that the court may issue the decree.

If the trademark or patent owner requests seizure of the goods, he must furnish adequate bond to cover possible damages to the other party and to compensate for loss of earnings.

The objector or plaintiff must take civil or penal action within 10 days of the date of issuance of the decree for the seizure of infringing goods. Otherwise the decree will be lifted and the objector or plaintiff will be required to pay damages accordingly.

Border measures by customs are provided for by the Customs Law. According to the Customs Law, goods bearing trademarks, manufacturer's details or other particulars that might confuse and mislead consumers about the origin of the goods may not be released.(14)

For further information on this topic please contact Mohammad Badamchi at HAMI Legal Services Inc by telephone (+98 21 204 36 84) or by fax (+98 21 204 36 86) or by email ([email protected]).


(1) Patents and Trademarks Registration Act, Chapter 1, Article 2.

(2) Id, Article 1.

(3) Id, Article 2(5).

(4) Id, Article 1.

(5) Id, Article 2(4).

(6) Paris Convention, Article 6(5) B(2).

(7) Patents and Trademarks Registration Act, Chapter 1, Article 2.

(8) Id, Article 13.

(9) Id, Article16(1).

(10) Id, Article 16(2).

(11) Paris Convention, Article 6(2)(3).

(12) Patents and Trademarks Registration Act, Chapter 2, Article 36.

(13) Judgment on Identical Ruling of the General Board of the Supreme Court 615, dated April 8 1997.

(14) Customs Law, Article 40(12).