People and places
Like much of the Middle East, intellectual property is not the most important legal practice in Qatar, but the coming of the 2022 World Cup and a per capita GDP of more than US$120,000 does give IP relatively more importance here than in some other Middle Eastern countries. The country’s economy runs on crude oil production and refining, liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, com-mercial ship repair and by functioning as a major aviation hub (even throughout Covid-19) for the One World alliance through Qatar Airlines.
Sami Younis is executive director of the Doha office of Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP), a regional IP firm with its roots in Kuwait, and its current headquarters in Jordan. Younis is noted for his work as an IP expert in the Qatari courts. The firm has been involved in revising and drafting important IP laws and regulations in at least half a dozen Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates. The firm has offices spread across more than 30 predominantly Muslim jurisdictions, as well as in China, India and Russia, each with their own significant Muslim minority populations.
Al Sulaiti Law Firm is led by chairman Mubarak A. Al Sulaiti, who previously led the legal affairs department in Qatar’s Ministry of Transportation. The firm handles most areas of business law, including IP, IT and telecoms, cybercrime, data protection and privacy, and sports, media and entertainment law. The firm’s chair is a member of the Rex Sports Association and a former member of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee. The firm also maintains offices in Istanbul, Kuwait and Cairo, and in Milan and Como, Italy.
Regional law firm Al Tamimi & Co works in association with Adv. Mohammed S. Al Marri Advocates & Legal Consultants in Doha. Partner and head of corporate restructuring Ahmed Jaafir is based in Doha; he recently advised an American multinational IT company spinoff of its enterprise services businesses and is a key contact in Doha for IP matters. Associate Diana Abu Al Adel is another good contact for local and regional IP questions.
Founded by Qatari lawyers Sultan Al-Abdulla and Jamal Abu Ghaida, AraMarks is based in Doha with a pan-Arab reach; the firm manages IP portfolios for a wide variety of clients, from SMEs to large multinational companies. The firm also works with law firms across the Middle East in rendering IP advice to sporting, branding and marketing stakeholders. The firm works in alliance with leading Qatari full-service law firm Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners, and boasts its own translation house, AraMarks Translation. The firm traces its roots to the work Al-Abdullah and Abu Ghaida did in drafting and implementing the first nation-wide IP protection plan while working with the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee. The firm also has an office in Bahrain.
Clyde & Co has a staff of 13 in Doha, including three partners and seven lawyers. The firm’s IP teams work together effectively globally, particularly on the commercialization of intellectual property through licensing and franchising, royalty agreements, white-labelling, and research and development. It also provides guidance on personality rights and on content creation, distribution and acquisition.
Veteran corporate lawyer Safwan Moubaydeen is managing partner of the Dentons offices in Doha and in Amman, Jordan. He is a trusted advisor and is often sought out for extremely complicated transactions requiring extensive experience in Qatar laws and laws of other jurisdictions. He is known as a specialist in TMT matters. Moubaydeen has published Doing Business in Qatarand has well-established connections within the government of Qatar and other GCC countries.
Intellectual property is handled through the corporate and commercial practice at Essa Al Sulaiti Law Firm. The firm has a deep bench of senior lawyers who have significant arbitral and litigatory experience in jurisdictions including Qatar, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Spain and Egypt. Essa Mohammad Al Sulaiti, who founded the firm, handles a broad range of corporate and commercial advisory services with a focus on dispute resolution. He has an interdisciplinary master’s degree in sports law and has been heavily involved in handling legal demands of the upcoming World Cup.
Global firm Eversheds Sutherland’s Doha office handles franchising, licensing and IP/IT as part of its commercial practice, which also handles commercial contracts and agency/distribution agreements. The firm’s local office also handles litigation and dispute management, as well as the usual run of legal services. Dani Kabbani, who has more than 25 years of experience, is managing partner; his broad experience makes him a key contact for just about any legal matter in Qatar. He has successfully drafted several laws in application in the country, including the PPP Law and the revised Commercial Companies Law. He has served on the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy on the Qatar 2022 World Cup organization.
Hamad Alyafei Law Firm is a full-service law firm in Doha. In addition to work in corporate, construction, real estate, maritime and other business law, the firm has active practices in intellectual property, sports law and litigation. The firm’s IP team provides local and foreign clients alike with advice on the protection and exploitation of their intellectual property rights; the sports law team is noted for its work in negotiating contracts for events, facilities and media rights.
Maramiya (IP) Services provides a full range of IP management and enforcement services throughout the Middle East. Headquartered in Doha, the firm also provides IP services in Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India and China.
Malik Al Kammaz is country manager at regional firm Saba & Co. Intellectual Property, also known as Saba IP, in Doha. Al Kammaz has solid contacts with semi-governmental and private sector clients in tourism, banking, R&D, satellite television broadcasting, medical research, petrochemicals, sports and education; he was the IP consultant for a pan-Arab television contest for seven years in a row. He is also known for the work he has done in providing training on IP issues to SMEs and during government and WIPO-sponsored workshops. The firm, as one of the region’s largest IP-focussed practices, handles the gamut of IP matters. The firm’s offices stretch from the Middle East to Central Asia and throughout much of Africa.
Sharq Law Firm handles IP matters, as well as matters of communications, media and technology and of commercial and franchise licensing, through its corporate division. The firm was founded in Doha in 2014 by Rashid bin Saad Al Saad. The firm is noted for its embrace of technology in management and Q ATARIntellectual Property research alike.
Riyadh-based SMAS-IP has 19 offices across the Middle East and North Africa, including in Doha, where Esaif Al deen Hamed is the branch manager. The firm offers a broad suite of intellectual property services.
Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners is a full-service law firm with practices focusing on IP, telecommunications and IT and events and sporting. The IP team works closely with the firm’s dispute resolution team in defending IP rights in litigation and contentious proceedings before the courts of Qatar. In addition to sports-related services, the firm has advised cinemas, festivals and theatres on hosting events in Qatar and has liaised with the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage to ensure culture and legal norms are addressed. Ashraf Feshawi, Salman Mahmood and Thomas Williams are key contacts.
United Trademark & Patent Services is a top-notch regional law firm which offers the full realm of intellectual property services and domain name services. The firm is led by the well-known Yawar Irfan Khan, Hasan Irfan Khan and Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan. In addition to Doha, the firm has offices in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Bahrain, as well as in parts of North Africa and South Asia.
Other Notable Firms
- Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property
- Al Tamimi & Co
- Clyde & Co
- Essa Al Sulaiti Law Firm
- Eversheds Sutherland
- Hamad Alyafei Law Firm
- JAH & Co. IP
- Maramiya (IP) Services
- Saba & Co. Intellectual Property
- Sharq Law Firm
- SMAS Intellectual Property
- Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners
- United Trademark & Patent Services