Iran sees increase in brand protection initiatives on eve of sanctions relief

Al Monitor recently published an interesting piece on brand integrity in Iran. The article focuses partially on misconceptions related to brand integrity and representation in Iran and partially on the possibilities inherent when and if existing commercial obstacles facing US companies are removed. A number of popular US businesses and fast food chains have been emulated by Iranian entrepreneurs with varying degrees of success.

An Iranian entrepreneur who founded a Baskin-Robbins imitation was ordered to close all five branches of his company’s thriving business after he was found to have derived his profit from an existing international copyright and brand. An Iranian attorney instrumental in shuttering the business sought to clarify following the resolution the status of brand integrity in Iran. Specifically, he pointed to the fact that Iran is a signatory to world intellectual property treaties including the Madrid Protocol, as well as a member of IP standard bearer the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Additionally, the requirements for filing a trademark infringement suit are reportedly comparable to those of “most any other country” in that a disputing firm must present the requisite documentation and lodge a complaint with an Iranian court. The success of the suits has varied, however, as in the case of Yum! Brands, which has unsuccessfully sued a number of imitation Iranian restaurants over the past several years.

Sources in Tehran have indicated that recent efforts made by international firms to protect their brands portend a future push to enter the Iranian market. More than $3 billion in FDI inflows are expected in 2016-2017 although given the significant lack of sanctions relief for US firms it is still unlikely that many will establish a presence in Iran.

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News Briefs:

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