Intellectual Property Law in Iran

Iran has always been a profitable market for businesses, offering numerous opportunities for growth. However, like any other burgeoning market, certain measures must be taken to safeguard your business, with the protection of intellectual property being of paramount importance.
To gain an understanding of the intellectual property laws in Iran, legal advice is necessary. During the registration process, a legal expert’s assistance can help mitigate any issues or obstacles that may arise, providing valuable foresight. Karimi & Associates Law Firm can provide such support. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers in various legal fields can offer specialized legal advice and support for intellectual property laws, ensuring your business’s interests are protected.

Intellectual property rights

It refers to the legally recognized exclusive rights given to the creators or owners of intangible assets. These assets are non-physical in nature and can include anything from artistic works, literary works, inventions, and symbols to designs and branding. In essence, intellectual property rights protect the creators’ or owners’ rights to control the use of their creations or assets and prevent others from using them without their permission.
Some common examples of intellectual property rights include patents, which give the owner the exclusive right to produce, sell, or use an invention for a specific period; trademarks, which are used to identify and distinguish goods or services of one entity from another; and copyrights, which protect original works of authorship, such as books, music, movies, and software.
Other types of intellectual property rights include industrial designs, which protect the aesthetic aspects of a product; trade secrets, which protect confidential information that gives a company a competitive advantage; and moral rights, which protect the personal and reputational interests of the creator or owner in their works.

Intellectual Property Treaties

Iran has been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 2001 and has acceded to several of its intellectual property treaties. Specifically, in 1959, Iran joined the Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) and, in December 2003, acceded to the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks. Furthermore, in 2005, Iran became a member of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, which ensures the safeguarding of geographical names associated with specific products. These actions are indicative of Iran’s commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights and its recognition of the importance of international cooperation in this field.

Protection of Cultural Property

Iran has demonstrated its commitment to the protection of cultural property by ratifying several international agreements. The Hague Protocol, which outlines protection measures for cultural property during armed conflicts, was ratified by Iran in 1959. Additionally, Iran ratified the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in 1975. In 2005, Iran agreed to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954, which further strengthens protections for cultural property during armed conflicts. These measures reflect Iran’s recognition of the value of cultural heritage and its importance in preserving history and identity.

Paris Convention, 1959

Iran has ratified the International Convention for Protection of Industrial Property, commonly known as the Paris Convention. This international treaty is designed to safeguard the intellectual property rights of inventors and creators across the globe. As a signatory to this treaty, Iran is obliged to provide the same level of protection to the industrial property of nationals from member countries as it does to its own citizens.
This means that if a company or individual from a member country of the Paris Convention files for a patent, trademark, or design in Iran, they will enjoy the same legal protection as they would if they were an Iranian citizen. Similarly, if Iranian nationals file for intellectual property rights protection in any member country, they will be granted the same level of protection as citizens of that country.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), 2002

Iran has been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 2002, and it has acceded to several WIPO intellectual property treaties. However, Iran has not signed the WIPO Copyright Treaty, which aims to protect the rights of authors and creators of literary and artistic works.
According to the “World Intellectual Property Indicators 2013” report published by WIPO, Iran ranked 90th in the world for patents generated by Iranian nationals, 100th in industrial design, and 82nd in trademarks. The report also shows that the number of patent applications filed by Iranian nationals has increased in recent years, particularly in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.

Madrid Agreement, 2003

In December 2003, the Council of Ministers passed a decree to ratify Iran’s accession to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and its protocol. This agreement is an international treaty that allows for the registration and protection of trademarks in multiple countries with a single application.
Under this agreement, nationals of any contracting country can register their marks with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. Once a mark is registered with WIPO, it can be protected in all other acceding countries, which currently includes over 120 countries worldwide.
This system simplifies the process for businesses and individuals seeking to protect their trademarks in multiple countries. It also provides a more cost-effective and streamlined approach for trademark registration and protection on a global scale.

Lisbon Agreement, 2005

In 2005, Iran became a signatory to the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration. This agreement provides legal protection to the names of geographical locations that are associated with particular products, such as Champagne and Roquefort cheese. In essence, the agreement aims to prevent the use of such names by producers who are not located in the area designated by the name and who do not follow the traditional methods of production.
The Lisbon Agreement came into force in March 2006, and as a direct consequence, Iran’s Customs Administration has implemented a ban on the importation of goods that are produced outside of Iran but carry Iranian brand names. This means that products such as saffron, pistachios, and carpets that are not produced in Iran are prohibited from being imported if they bear an Iranian brand name. The ban is intended to prevent the misuse of such names and protect the reputation and integrity of Iranian products.

When it comes to matters pertaining to intellectual property in Iran, it is recommended that legal advice be sought. In this regard, we suggest engaging the services of Karimi & Associates Law Firm, which boasts a team of legal experts specializing in IP law. These professionals are equipped to provide specialized legal advice in this field to those seeking to familiarize themselves with it in Iran. To this end, we encourage you to visit the “Contact Us” section of their website to learn more about their services and get in touch with their team of professional lawyers.

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