All questions

Intellectual property

i Brand search

Searches for trademarks, patents and industrial designs, as well as searches for trade names and information on corporate entities, can be made in the database of the Official Gazette available at www.rrk.ir. The State Organization for Registration of Deeds and Properties Intellectual Property Center (the Registry) also provides for a database search of all intellectual properties available at http://iripo.ssaa.ir.

ii Brand protection

Trademark registration is not compulsory for franchisors under Iranian law; this is only a legal requirement for advertising purposes. Registration of a trademark will, however, provide the trademark owner with the maximum protection available under Iranian law. Such protection is highly recommended, given the various common infringements found in the market. Protection is granted under the umbrella of the Law on the Registration of Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks 2009. Iran is also a member of the following international agreements, and therefore offers the protections and mechanism provided by these treaties:

  1. Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1891 together with its Protocol (1989); and
  2. the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883.

To register a trademark an application must be submitted with information on the applicant as well as details and descriptions of the trademark itself.

Upon receipt of the application, the Registry reviews the application within 30 days to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. It also cross-checks and confirms that the trademark classes applied for are in conformity with the international trademark classes. If the application is rejected because of any faults or discrepancies, the Registry will require the modification of the application within 30 days. If the application is approved, the trademark will be published in the Official Gazette.

Third parties will have the right to object to the application within 30 days of it being published. Otherwise, the registration will be finalised. The validity of the registration will be for a period of 10 years, with the possibility of renewal for an unlimited number of times.

iii Enforcement

Violations of trademark rights are handled by a specialised court sitting in the capital (i.e., Tehran), which processes all lawsuits related to trademark and trade name disputes in all civil and criminal claims. There is also a special prosecution office vested to hear criminal complaints made for breach of trademark and trade name rights. In dealing with breach of trademark rights (including, for example, the sale of counterfeit products) a number of remedies are available. These are, inter alia, imposing pecuniary penalties, requesting compensation, ordering product recalls and issuing necessary injunctions or preventive measures.

iv Data protection, cybercrime, social media and e-commerce

Data protection is a relatively new area of law under the Iranian legal regime and is not particularly well regulated. There is no specific law on private data, but this is an area dealt with in a number of laws and regulations including, inter alia, the Law on Electronic Commerce 2003 (EC), the Publication and Free Access to Information Law 2009, the Law on Cyber Crimes 2009 (LCC), and the newly amended Penal Code 2014.

Private data are protected from disclosure and all state, public or private organisations and entities dealing with such data and information must comply with the pertinent regulations.

Private data are defined as 'data belonging to a real person' including the name, surname, residential and work address, family situation, personal habits, physical disorders, bank account number and passwords of the relevant person. Data are defined as 'any representation of facts, information and concepts which is produced, sent, received, stored or processed by electronic, optical or other new technological means'.

As noted above, regulations exist in areas of e-commerce, namely the EC, the LCC in relation to cybercrime, and various by-laws issued by the Ministry of Culture regulating the activities of social media, in particular, the Implementing By-laws on Regularising and Development of Digital Media 2010.