New IP Laws in Algeria

01 Dec 2003

Algeria has been exerting continuous efforts to modernize its laws and legislations so that they are in harmony with international standards. Accordingly, Algeria has started amending all its existing IP laws to ensure their conformity with Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has approved the issuance of new IP laws in the fields of Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights and Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits.

The Copyright Law protects literary and artistic works, performers, broadcasting organizations, producers of audio-visual works in addition to works of collective authorship, national folklore and public domain.

Some of the Copyright articles stipulate as follows:

According to Article 21, the author shall enjoy, in respect of the work, moral and financial rights. Moral rights shall not be liable for prescription or assignment.

According to Article 27, the author shall have the right to exploit the work in any manner and he may receive compensation in cash in return for the transference of one or more of the financial exploitation rights of the work to third parties.

Article 54 states that the protection term for the financial rights of the author prescribed by the laws shall be the life of the author and 50 years calculated from the beginning of the calendar year subsequent to the author’s death. The law states the protection terms for collective works, audio-visual works and others as well.

The Copyright Law also examines in detail the neighboring rights specifying the financial rights for holders and scope and terms of protection.

The new law also lays down the imprisonment sentences and fine imposed on infringers of copyrights. Any person committing the offenses mentioned in the law shall be penalized by imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not more than 3 years, and a fine of not less 500.000 Algerian Dinars, and not exceeding 1.000.000 Algerian Dinars, or either of both penalties.

The newly issued Copyright Law annulled law No. 97-10 dated March 6, 1997 related to Copyright and Neighboring rights.

As for the Law of Trademarks, a quick view of the new law shows that it mainly strengthens and broadens the rights of trademark proprietors, including the owners of famous trademarks. The new law also clarifies the registration procedures.

The law elaborates on different provisions related to trademark filing, examination, registration and publication. In addition to examining the different aspects related to trademark usage, transference, cancellation and compulsory licensing.

Trademark infringement shall be punishable according to the law. The penalties vary between imprisonment and fine and sometimes it may lead to the closure of the infringing institution.

The law annulled trademark law No. 66-57 dated March 19, 2003 related to trademarks.

Patents Law states that a letters-patent shall be awarded to any invention resulting from innovative idea or inventive step provided that such an idea or step is capable of industrial application.

The law examines in detail filing of a patent, its examination and issuance of letters-patent. In addition to the above, the law stated the conditions in which a compulsory license may apply.

Law concerning Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits tackles different aspects surrounding formalities of filing a layout design, registration, publication, assignment and compulsory licensing.

According to Article 5, any natural or juridical person may not undertake any of the following acts without prior written approval from the right holder of the protected layout-design:
1- Copying the layout-design, in whole or a new part thereof, either by incorporation in an integrated circuit or by any other means.

2- Importing, selling or distributing for the purposes of trading a layout-design, either independently from an integrated circuit or incorporated therewith.

It is worth noting that the above laws were issued on July 19, 2003 and they were published in the Official Gazette of Algeria issue 44 in July 2003.

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