People and places
Syria’s intellectual property laws all date from the 2000s – the copyright law was passed in 2001, the trademark and industrial designs law in 2007 and the patent law in 2012.
As a country with more than decade of civil war conflict still ongoing, President Bashar al-Assad has normalized relations with several other Arab governments. The country’s economy has collapsed, many of its people are food insecure and narcotics tracking has become a leading source of revenue for the Assad regime. Should Syria manage to put the civil war behind it, it stands a great chance at success: it has rich oil and gas reserves, and year-round good weather and the plethora of ruins it possesses as one of the oldest civilizations on the planet, could make it an attractive tourist destination one day.
With the ongoing war, intellectual property isn’t high on the minds of many of Syria’s residents. The legal market has suffered over the past decade, as well; today, only a few top-level firms have personnel stationed in Syria. Most of the region’s leading firms should be able to provide advice from Dubai, Doha or other leading regional cities. Most of the international-quality lawyers you’ll find in Syria itself are located in Damascus.
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. Mohammad Ammar Azmeh is a key contact in Damascus. 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-Rustom Law Firm was established in Syria in 1987 by Souhail Al-Rustom. Today, the firm provides advice from a broad range of practices, including intellectual property protection, patent and trademark registration and drafting and reviewing contracts. It also provides advice on advertising, internet and social media. Samer Al Rustom, who owns the firm, is a good person with whom to make your first contact.
Kardous Law Office handles intellectual property, as well as litigation, corporate legal services and general legal services. Fady Antoine Kardous leads the firm, and is admitted to practice before all the courts of Syria. He is a former consultant for the Ministry of Telecommunications; he was responsible for drafting Syria’s esignature and ecommerce laws and regulations, and licensing regulations for local and international ISPs.
Khaddour Law Office provides services related to acquisition, protection, enforcement and exploitation of IP rights as well as licensing and franchising agreements. Founder and managing partner Hussein Khaddour is a specialist in international trade and arbitration; Dania Alshreibati is the firm’s head of litigation. The firm celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021.
Sarkis & Associates is a general business law firm in Damascus. It has a strong finance and banking practice; its clients include multinational technology companies. Fadi Sarkis is often called upon as an expert witness on issues of Syrian law in international arbitrations.
Sayed & Sayed is a Damascus-based firm that offers advice on IP, corporate law, banking and finance, contracts, international transactions, administrative law and public regulations. Founding partner Moustafa Sayed is a key contact for international franchising advice, among other things.
Full-service IP office Tamim Fares Intellectual Property Consultancy & Services – also known as TF IP Consultancy & Services – is based in Damascus. The firm handles trademark, industrial design, patent, copyright and domain name registration and prosecution. It also assists overseas clients and law firms to secure protection for IP rights.