Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Oman Law Digest 2009 - COMMERCIAL REGISTER

Every natural or corporate person conducting business in Oman must register with the Commercial Register at MCI. Under Commercial Register Law [RD 3/73 as amended], the certificate of registration would include the commercial registration number, the registrant’s name, its legal form, principal office address, registered activities, the name(s) of manager(s) and directors, and the date and place of registration. Information registered in the Commercial Register is available for public inspection.

TRADE NAME
The Law requires every business to have a trade name which must be different from other registered names. It must not misrepresent its nature of business. According to internal regulations of MCI on name, commercial names must consist of meaningful Arabic words. Foreign names are permitted for companies with foreign shareholders having similar registered names abroad and for companies with recognised international names. Trade names must be registered in the Commercial Register. If a trade name is used by a competing business, the interested party may seek a ban on such usage and claim compensation.

Usage of names of countries and places such as Muscat and Oman and terms such as “Financial” and “investment” have minimum capital requirements.

Trade names and commercial and municipality registration numbers must be displayed on the front of the commercial premises. All stationery and trade documentation must contain the trade name and the commercial registration number.

TRADEMARKS
Law on Trademarks, Trade Secrets and Protection against Illegal Competition [RD 38/00] and laws relating to Industrial Designs, Topographic Designs, Geographical Indications and Patents [RDs 39/00, 40/00, 41/00 and 82/00] have been repealed by the Law of Industrial Property Rights [RD 67/08]. This Law provides for the protection and registration of trademarks, patents, industrial designs, topographic designs and inventions. Upon registration of industrial property rights, owner gets full protection of the law and exclusive rights. Unregistered trademarks get limited protection under Law of Commerce [RD 55/90] which prohibits deception, fraud and dissemination of misleading information in relation to sale of products. The Law regulating Production of Compact Discs and Accessories was introduced by RD 66/08.

COPYRIGHTS
Copyright and Related Rights Law [RD 37/00] was repealed by RD 65/08 which secures rights of authors of literary, artistic and scientific works. Copyright works include (i) computer programs (complying with TRIPS requirement for protecting computer programs like literary works); (ii) audio and audio-visual works; (iii) literary works and drawings; (iv) dance, drama, musical and motion picture productions and (v) lectures and speeches. The law provides for (i) exclusive rights for authors of copyrighted works; (ii) civil and criminal proceedings for violation of the law; and (iii) precautionary measures including injunction, seizure of infringing materials and closure of premises used for copyrights infringement.