GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Shariah Law and Intellectual Property Rights: Trademark Protection and Border Measures in the Gulf Cooperation Council States
Paper Proposal Text :
In 1995 the World Trade Organization-backed Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement came into effect, extending a largely Western-derived body of intellectual property standards to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This paper sets out the problems of harmonization resulting from the grafting of IPR onto the legal frameworks of GCC states which derive legislation directly from Sharia law
This paper discusses IP enforcement issues in the member-states of the GCC with a specific focus on trademarks. It provides an outline of the evolution of Intellectual Property protection within the GCC focusing in particular on the pre-TRIPS, TRIPS and TRIPS-plus eras, coupled with an overview of the trademark legislation of the different GCC countries, and comments on the perceived reasons why enforcement remains a problematic aspect within the region, notwithstanding the high levels of compatibility of legislation with TRIPS.
Responding to the transnational nature of the TRIPS agreement, this paper looks especially at how the intervention of foreign actors in the development of the relevant legislative frameworks has obstructed the establishment of regimes that take domestic needs and characteristics into account. By developing a cultural perspective on the GCC region which creates awareness of both pre-Islamic precedents for intellectual property rights, as well as the particular conceptualization of rights, property, and social responsibility for the greater good under the Shariah system of Islamic law, this paper advances the discourse on IPR in the Arab world.
Drawing from this cultural perspective, it is argued that a proper harmonization of TRIPS with Sharia law is required if they are to operate successfully within the GCC and gain the widespread public acceptance which will tackle the problem of effective enforcement and contribute to the protection of intellectual property throughout the future of the GCC.