The Libyan Trade Mark Office (“LTMO”) has resumed the process of trade mark searching since April 2013 and will reportedly be accepting new applications for the registration of trade marks in May 2013. This after the LTMO had ceased its operations in January 2011 due to civil unrest in the country.

There has, however, been some uncertainty with regard to the LTMO’s acceptance of new trade mark applications. According to one firm they had already “successfully filed the first trade mark application in Libya since the revolution” in April this year, while another firm “strongly confirmed” that the LTMO had not yet, and would not be, accepting new trade mark applications before May 2013.

The International Trade Mark Association (INTABulletin of 1 May 2013, Vol. 68 No. 9) has, however, confirmed that the LTMO has resumed its services and is indeed presently accepting trade mark search instructions and will be expected to begin accepting new trade mark applications in May 2013. The article further mentions that all deadlines and priority dates of trade marks which had already been filed and had fallen due within the closure period, would be properly dealt with to ensure that the files at the LTMO were in order.

Another important development is that Libya has recently re-established its diplomatic relations with Switzerland after a three year breakdown in relations. This means that it is now be possible for Swiss individuals and entities to file new trademark applications with the LTMO.

The requirements for filing new trade mark applications at the LTMO are as follows:

  1. A signed power of attorney, legalised up to the Libyan Consulate;
  2. A copy of the applicant company’s Certificate of Incorporation, legalised up to the Libyan Consulate; and
  3. 10 prints of the trade mark

A separate trade mark application will be required for each class of goods or services.

A legalised copy of a foreign registration certificate is no longer a requirement. Unless priority is claimed, in which case, a certified copy of the priority document issued from a member country of the Paris Convention will be required.

These developments are a welcome step in the right direction for prospective trade mark proprietors seeking to protect their rights in Libya.