Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
While the legal framework for intellectual property rights (IPR) in Algeria has improved, the enforcement of IPR laws is still lacking. Counterfeiting continues, especially in cosmetics, clothing, shoes, electrical appliances, and some consumer and food products (such as shampoo and baby formula).
In recent years, Algeria took some positive steps to improve the environment for intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement. Algerian authorities have increased efforts at IP enforcement, including disbanding informal markets selling counterfeit merchandise, increased coordination between customs authorities and law enforcement, and capacity-building and training efforts for law enforcement, customs officials, judges, and IP protection agencies. As a result, the U.S. Trade Representative reviewed Algeria’s ranking on the Special 301 Report and upgraded Algeria from its Priority Watch List to its Watch List in its May 2021 report.
In comparison to the United States, intellectual property is subject to different protections in Algeria. IP rights holders must register and seek enforcement of their rights under local laws, as U.S. trademark and patent registrations are not immediately recognized in Algeria. Registration of patents and trademarks is on a first-in-time, first-in-right basis, so companies should consider applying for a trademark and patent protection even before selling products or services in Algeria. Intellectual property is a private right, and the U.S. government cannot enforce private individuals’ rights in Algeria. It is the rights holders’ responsibility to register, protect, and enforce their rights, retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Algerian law. Foreign companies entering into partnerships with local counterparts should take precautions when registering IP domestically to ensure that rights are not transferred to the local partner upon the termination of their partnership agreement.
An “international copyright” that automatically protects an author’s writings throughout the world does not exist. Protection against unauthorized use in a country depends on the country’s laws. However, most countries offer copyright protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and international copyright treaties and conventions have greatly simplified these conditions.
While the U.S. government stands ready to assist, there is little we can do if the rights holders have not taken the fundamental steps necessary to securing and enforcing their IP in a timely fashion. Moreover, in many countries, rights holders who delay enforcing their rights on a mistaken belief that the U.S. government can provide a political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights have been eroded or revoked due to legal doctrines such as statutes of limitations, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in prosecuting a lawsuit. In no instance should U.S. government advice be seen as a substitute for the obligation of a rights holder to pursue its case promptly.
The following Algerian and American trade associations and organizations support efforts to protect IP and stop counterfeiting:
U.S. Chamber and local American Chambers of Commerce
- Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
- Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
- Trademark Association (INTA)
Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
- Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
- Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
- Industry Organization (BIO)
American firms can file lawsuits against producers and sellers of counterfeit goods. Having counterfeit products seized and destroyed requires experienced local legal representation and precise documentation.