As the commercial world has become increasingly globalised, as well as the rapidity by which information is disseminated, it is essential that intellectual property (“IP”) rights are adequately and sufficiently protected by legislation. In recent years, the Sultanate has taken further definite and proactive steps to ensure that IP rights are protected, including the enactment of The Law of Industrial Property Rights, promulgated by Royal Decree 67 of 2008 (the “IP Law”).
This article will provide a brief overview of the remedial measures available in Oman in the event that an IP right is breached.
Enforcement of IP Rights
Enforcement of IP rights is addressed in Part IV of the IP Law. Therein, a multitude of remedial measures are made available to an aggrieved party in the event that an IP right is violated.
- Interim Measures
- Compensation for Damages
- Remedies at Borders
As the losses resulting from an infringement of IP rights can be quite severe, interim measures are particularly useful. Chapter I of Part IV, entitled Infringement & Compensation, provides that, at the request of an interested party with a valid claim, the Honourable Courts of Oman may “issue a judicial order for the prevention of the existing or imminent infringement and compensation for damages.” Further, Chapter II of Part IV, entitled Interim Remedies, provides that the Omani courts may order interim remedies necessary to prevent infringement or unlawful use of a right protected under the IP Law. Article 73(1) allows the court to unilaterally order interim measures “without giving the other party the opportunity of being heard if delay may cause irreparable damage” to the aggrieved party.
In the event that the courts finally determine that damages were sustained by a claimant due to IP right infringement, the court will order the offender to pay monetary damages equal to the value of damages sustained. In determining the monetary damages sustained by a claimant, the court may consider any profits earned by the offender realised as a result of the infringement. Further, under Article 75(D), the court may, in the event that a patent right is infringed upon, increase the value of compensation for damages up to three times the estimated value of the damages. Article 76 requires the court to order the destruction of the goods and/or equipment that resulted from the infringement, and/or removal of trademarks that have been illegally duplicated. The court may also order the offender to disclose the identity of any persons that have acquired any confidential information as a result of the IP infringement.
Chapter V of Part IV, entitled Remedies at Borders, enables the owner of an IP right to request Omani customs to “suspend the procedure for customs clearance and the release of goods,” provided that sufficient evidence is presented showing that an IP right is being infringed. Thus, in such instances in which the possessor of a right is aware that an IP right is, effectively, being tangibly imported into the Sultanate, it is possible to avail of this measure.