Interior design students at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) attended a guest lecture on intellectual property (IP) laws and were briefed on how best they could protect their creative works as they prepare to venture into the market.
Mahmoud Abuwasel, associate at Qatari law firm Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners (SAP), provided the students with a roundup of the legal framework related to corporate and intellectual property in Qatar and the different legal forms and structures available in the country. The lecture is part of SAP’s corporate social responsibility and community engagement initiatives.
The lecture was a collaboration between SAP and the university aimed at providing expert and practical insight for the business classes offered to senior year students, according to a press statement.
Abuwasel explained that IP covers the "creations of the mind" and includes trademarks and copyrights. He emphasised its importance for interior design professionals in protecting their creative works.
Intellectual property is an intangible asset of a person or business that should be protected, not only to prevent unauthorised use, but also to safeguard its financial value, he emphasised.
Qatar is a signatory to international conventions on intellectual property, including the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
Abuwasel said that under the Berne Convention, copyright protection is automatically granted to creative works published on the Internet or any other medium.
A precautionary measure creators can take is to draft appropriate copyright statements linked to the works.
However, if an infringement is detected, action can be taken before the courts of the jurisdiction in which the infringement has taken place to obtain an injunction against the unauthorised use and/or claim for damages.
Abuwasel additionally referred to Qatar’s Trademarks Law, which also grants an individual whose trademark rights have been transgressed upon to apply for a court ordered injunction and/or claim for damages.
SAP is a full service, Chambers Band 1 and Legal500 Tier 1 law firm in Qatar established since 1999. The firm actively engages with, and supports, the local entrepreneurial community.