Copyright process

Attorney Fajer Ahmed

Creativity is around us in many forms, from poems to online blogs to paintings, photos, food, games, events and so on. We are blessed to be living in an era where creativity is encouraged through multiple platforms including the Internet, which has made each and every one of us in a sense a producer, publisher or a photographer; a blessing that was only available to a few 20 years ago. Now we can all create and share our creativity. It is truly wonderful.
With all the creativity though comes the need for legislations that protect our intellectual property. Today I will be answering simple questions about copyrights and trademarks in Kuwait, and as always I will be using general English instead of legalese in order to make sure that everyone can understand my article and not just lawyers in Kuwait. I will also be discussing the process instead of the law, because I feel the practical aspect is more important than the theoretical one for those who want to protect their rights.

Copyrighting books
Question: I have written a book and I want to get an ISBN number – where can I copyright my book? And any other thing I should be aware of?
Fajer: We have a department in Kuwait that is specifically for literary copyright – it is located at the National Library of Kuwait. You will need to fill out a form and submit your work to the department. The process for protecting your literary work takes on average around a week, and you will get an international ISBN number that you can use worldwide. Another common question I get for copyrighting books is whether Kuwait guarantees certificates of ownership of literary work that includes explicit material. The answer to this question is yes – you can get your book copyrighted even if the content has explicit material. There are only two topics that if discussed cannot be copyrighted – but these do not include any explicit material. This does not mean that your book can be published or sold in Kuwait, as you will need approval before doing so.

Mobile app
Question:  I have worked on a mobile application and I want to know if I can copyright it. Is this possible even if I am not using the app for commercial purposes?
Fajer: Yes, you can also copyright your mobile application at the National Library of Kuwait. You will need to submit the full and complete source-code and pay a KD 10 fee. The process will take not less than two weeks. Yes, it is possible even if you are not using the app for commercial purposes.

Trademarking a logo
Question: I am starting a company and I want to trademark my logo – where can I get it done?
Fajer: Trademarking logos in Kuwait has moved from one department to another, but currently it is located under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on the 21st floor of KIPCO tower. The process takes more than six months, as the logos are manually compared to other images and are printed in the local newspaper, giving people the opportunity to claim that the logos are infringing on their designs, should they wish to do so. There are costs for doing so and requirements for the submission of the trademark, like the size of the photo of the trademark, the slogan accompanying the logo, and so on. I won’t get into it here, but you can check for more information.

For any legal questions or queries, email [email protected].

By Attorney Fajer Ahmed

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