5. Protection of Property Rights
Securitized interests in property, both moveable and real, are recognized and enforced in Oman, with mortgages and liens also existing in the country. Foreign nationals are generally not able to own real estate in Oman, other than residential property located in a few designated Integrated Tourism Complexes. Individuals record their interest in property with the Land Registry at the Ministry of Housing. The legal system, in general, facilitates the acquisition and disposition of property rights.
There are lands reserved for tribal use and ownership, but there are no clear definitions or regulations. These tribes legally own the land, as opposed to the government owning the land, and therefore control access and any commercial activities.
According to the World Bank, it takes on average 16 days to register property, and the cost of the registration process as a percentage of the property value (five percent) is lower in Oman than elsewhere the region. In 2018, the World Bank ranked Oman 52nd in the world for registering property, and Oman ranked higher than many other countries in the region.
Intellectual Property Rights
Oman has a relatively robust legal and regulatory framework for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. Oman was not listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s latest Special 301 Report, nor was it designated as a notorious market.
U.S. stakeholders have experienced difficulty getting appropriate agencies, including the Public Authority for Consumer Protection, the Public Prosecution, MOCI, and the ROP, to take enforcement action. Adding to the lack of efficiency in IPR enforcement is the continued confusion as to which government agencies are responsible for investigating different types of IPR violations.
Public Authority for Consumer Protection officials have confirmed that they do not accept responsibility for complaints arising from brand-owners; they only take action on consumers’ complaints. MOLA also confirmed that the Law of Copyrights and Neighboring Rights (Royal Decree No. 65/2008) stipulates that the MOCI shall be responsible for IPR enforcement at the retail level, including inspections and seizures.
Oman revised its intellectual property and copyright laws to comply with its obligations under the 2009 U.S.-Oman FTA. As a result, Oman offers increased IPR protection for copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, geographical indications, and patents. FTA-related revisions to IPR protection in Oman built upon the existing IPR regime, already strengthened by the passage of WTO-consistent intellectual property laws on copyrights, trademarks, industrial secrets, geographical indications and integrated circuits. The FTA’s chapter on IPR can be found at: https://om.usembassy.gov/business/u-s-oman-free-trade-agreement/texts-free-trade-agreement/.
Oman is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is registered as a signatory to the Madrid, Paris, and Berne Conventions on trademarks and intellectual property protection. Oman has also signed the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Oman is also a signatory to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.
Trademark laws in Oman are Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) compliant. Trademarks must be registered and noted in the Official Gazette through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Local law firms can assist companies with the registration of trademarks. Oman’s copyright protection law extends protection to foreign copyrighted literary, technical, or scientific works; works of the graphic and plastic arts; and sound and video recordings. In order to receive protection, a foreign-copyrighted work must be registered with the Omani government by depositing a copy of the work with the government and paying a fee. Trademarks are valid for 10 years while patents are generally protected for 20 years. As literary works, software and audiovisual content are protected for 50 years.
For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at:
Resources for Rights Holders:
Ministry of Commerce and Industry – Department of IPR Enforcement
Director of Intellectual Property
Tel: +968- 9942-1551
Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Abdul Adheem Al-Bahrani
Tel: +968-2479- 9146
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Regional IP Attaché
Pete C. Mehravari Intellectual Property Attaché for the Middle East & North Africa
U.S. Embassy Kuwait City, Kuwait
U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Tel: +965 2259 1455
United States Trade Representative
IPR Director for the GCC
Tel: +1 (202) 395-9564
U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration