Special Issues

Compulsory licenses

On expiry of a period of three years from the grant of a patent or four years from the filing date of an application, any person may be granted a compulsory license on the patent provided that neither the owner of the patent nor his successor in title:

(a) has begun to work or has made real and effective preparations for working the invention that is the subject matter of the patent;

(b) has marketed the patented product in a quantity sufficient to satisfy the needs of the Moroccan market; or

(c) if working or marketing of the patent in Morocco has been abandoned for more than three years.(Article 60 of the law 17-97)


Prolongation of patent term

The duration of patent protection can be extended in case the application was granted after a period of four years from its filing date  (Article 17.1 of the law 17-97).


Prolongation of Pharmaceutical patent term

The term of protection for a patent of invention of a pharmaceutical product, can be extended at the request of the patent holder, for a period equal to the number of days elapsed between the expiry date of the deadline prescribed for granting the drug marketing approval and the actual date of its issuance (Article 17.2 of the law 17-97)


Definition of infringement

Constitutes an act of infringement any violation of IP rights held by their legitimate owners (Article 201 of the law 17-97)


Nullity action

Any concerned person can request nullity of the registration of a mark filed in violation of his prior rights. However, his action may not be admissible if the mark has been filed in good faith and if he has tolerated its use for a period of five years. (Article 161 of the law 17-97)


Well known trademark

The owner of a well-known mark in the sense of article 6bis of the Paris Convention may claim cancellation of the registration of a mark liable to lead to confusion with his own mark. Such nullity proceedings shall be prescribed five years after the registration date of the mark, unless registration was applied for in bad faith (Article 162 of the law 17-97)


Revocation Action for non-use

Can be deprived of his rights, the owner who has not put his mark to genuine use in connection with the goods or services covered by the registration during an uninterrupted period of five years, without good reason. The revocation of the trademark for lack of use can be introduced before the Tribunal of Commerce by any interested party (Article 163 of the law 17-97). 


 Fraudulent applications or registrations

Where a trademark has been filed either fraudulently with respect to the rights of another person or in violation of a legal or contractual obligation, any person who believes he has a right in the mark may claim ownership by legal proceedings.

Except where the applicant has acted in bad faith, the action claiming ownership should be instituted within three years after the date of registration of the mark (Article 142 of the law 17-97).


Descriptive seizure

The owner of a trademark registration / application or an exclusive licensee are entitled,  on an order issued by the president of the court, to proceed to a descriptive seizure of products which are offered for sale, delivered or furnished, in violation of his rights (Article 222 of the law 17-97) 


Customs Suspension

The customs administration can, at the request of the owner of a registered trademark or his exclusive licensee, suspend the free circulation of merchandise suspected to be counterfeit. 

The measure of suspension is automatically lifted if the claimant does not submit to the customs within a period of ten working days a proof that he had:

- either requested conservatory measures ordered by the president of the tribunal

- or initiated a lawsuit at the tribunal of commerce

When the Customs determine or suspect that imported or exported goods or goods in transit are infringing, it can automatically suspend the free circulation of these goods Article 176.1 / 2 and 4 of the law 17-97)


Scope of TM protection

The registration of a mark confers to its owner a right of property only for the goods and services he has designated (Article 153 of the law 17-97)


Notoriety Criteria

In determining whether a trademark is well known, Members shall take account of the knowledge of the trademark in the relevant sector of public, including knowledge in the Member concerned which has obtained as a result of the PROMOTION of the trademark (Article 16.2 of TRIPS).