People and places
Like much of the Middle East, Oman’s economy focuses on the oil and gas sectors, which account, collectively, for some 60 percent of total revenue. The country’s five-year plan (2021-2025) does emphasize environmental sustainability and clean energy, which may provide work for technology-minded IP lawyers. A number of international firms work in Oman, although old-school intellectual property work is not a large practice area at many of them. Local firms and regional firms offer your best bets for IP advice.
Regional IP firm Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP) has its headquarters in Jordan. The firm was founded in 1972 as T.M.P. Agents at a time when IP protection was still in its early stages in the Middle East. Executive director Naji Taha is based in Oman. 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 Alawi & Co. was formed in 1982; today, it is one of the largest independent law firms in Muscat. Partner and CEO Anwaar Ali Khamis Al Alawi has recently returned to the firm after spending eight years working with the Oman Ministry of Legal Affairs; she is taking the lead in furthering the firm’s IP and administrative law practices. The firm’s IP practice focuses on trademarks, patents, copyrights, enforcement matters and commercializing IP, including franchising and licensing.
Al Busaidy Mansoor Jamal & Co. (AMJ) is an independent law firm based in Muscat. The firm’s IP practice handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, and regularly advises leading national, regional and global brand owners on trademarks, copyright, patents, designs, domain names, trade secrets and anti-competitive practices. It also provides support to the firm’s commercial and corporate teams on related matters such as the negotiation and drafting of licensing and franchise agreements, M&A due diligence, brand merchandising and marketing, technology transfer and data protection issues.
Regional law firm Al Tamimi & Co opened its Muscat office in 2013. Today, the office is led by partner Ahmed Al Barwani, a well-respected lawyer who is regularly involved in drafting Oman laws, including the country’s antitrust law. Dubai-based partner Omar Obeidat is the firm’s head of competition and intellectual property, while partner Ahmad Saleh, also based in Dubai, heads the firm’s innovation and patents team. The firm operates 17 offices in 10 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
Baianat Intellectual Property has more than 25 offices in 17 different jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa. Hifzy Haloub manages the firm’s Muscat office.
BK Law was founded by lawyer and activist Basma Al Kyumi in 2016; today, it provides IP, litigation, dispute resolution, claims and contract drafting services. Al Kyumi is a shrewd negotiator known for her fiery court arguments. The firm is noted for its anti-infringement work.
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang – also known simply as CMS Oman – was established in 2014, and advises on, among other things, consumer products, hotels and leisure, media and entertainment, technology and telecommunications. Partner Ben Ewing is a key contact in Muscat, where his practice encompasses all aspects of corporate and commercial law, with a particular focus on global business projects.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle is the only licensed U.S.-based law firm in Oman. The Curtis Oman office advises both private and public sector clients, including various ministries and related entities, on a full range of international and domestic legal matters. The firm’s is highly-respected for its commercial litigation work in the Middle East; its attorneys have handled a wide variety of matters involving IP claims, antitrust matters, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.
Dentons opened its Oman office in 1981 and was one of the first foreignfirms to do so. Early on, the firm established a training programme for its Omani lawyers to qualify as Englihs solicitors; today, Omani nationals make up more than 40 percent of its qualified lawyers. The firm works in Oman in association with local firm Yaqdhan Al Busaidi Law Firm to offer dispute resolution services to its clients. Associated partner Yaqdhan Al-Basaidi is a key IP contact, particularly in the dispute resolution realm. Senior legal consultant Simon Topping specializes in telecoms, IT, privacy/cybersecurity, e-commerce, technology and intellectual property law. Before going back into private practice, Topping was head of legal and regulatory at Batelco, the Bahrain telecoms provider, then performed the same role at Atheeb, a telecoms startup in Saudi Arabia.
Doha-based JAH & Co. IP has more than 20 years of experience in the Middle East and Africa, advising clients of all sizes, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies on a plethora of IP matters. “Intellectual property is among the most important assets of every enterprise,” says firm CEO Jehad Ali Hasan. “With the globalization of the world economy and commerce, the Middle East and Arab world with its young population and resources contributes significantly towards it.”
Kennedys has a growing cybercrime, fraud and regulatory practice in Muscat. In addition to Muscat and Dubai, the firm has a dedicated network of cyber lawyers in offices located across Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, the United States and Bermuda. Nasser Al Shamli, Advocates & Legal Consultants (NASLAW) is the firm’s associated firm in Oman; its namesake Nasser Al Shamli, is a go-to for litigation advice.
Mohammed Al Ruqaishi Law Firm handles IP, telecommunications, IT and technology transfer work through its corporate and commercial practice. The firm prides itself on being a trusted business partner, and approaches work with commercial imperatives in mind. Founding partner Hashim Shekhuna is a key contact for IP matters.
Regional firm Saba & Co. Intellectual Property, also known as Saba IP, is led in Oman by country manager Sami Nusair; he provides IP, legal and strategic advice to clients. He previously worked in industrial and commercial institutions in Jordan and Qatar. 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.
Said Al Shahry & Partners (SASLO) is a Muscat-based firm with a strong media, entertainment and sports practice, which also houses its IP protection team. Clients in this sector include media groups, online advertising and promotion companies, internet service providers, event organizers, music distributors, publishers; artists; financiers and financial institutions who seek our advice to a range of transactions, including M&A and joint ventures, network sharing and outsourcing, as well as advice on IP disputes (copyright and other IP infringement), privatizations and financing and investment. The firm has advised more a dozen different MNCs in F&B, retail, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications industries on obtaining trademark registration in Oman. The firm also has dedicated food and agribusiness and healthcare and pharmaceuticals practices.
Other Notable Firms
- Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property
- Al Alawi & Co.
- Al Busaidy Mansoor Jamal & Co. (AMJ)
- Al Tamimi & Co.
- Baianet Intellectual Property
- BK Law
- CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang
- Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle
- Dentons, in association with Yaqdhan Al Busaidi Law Firm
- JAH & Co. IP
- Mohammed Al Ruqaishi Law Firm
- Saba IP
- Said Al Shahry & Partners (SASLO)