The procedure followed at the ACFD is somewhat similar to the procedure followed by Department of Economic Development (DED) in the UAE in the matter of administrative complaints filed against trademark infringement issues, with the main procedural differences as follows:
a) While processing an administrative complaint filed before the DED, the officials will allow the brand owner and/or his legal representative to accompany them while they inspect or raid the premise of the opponent and confiscate the infringing products, whereas the ACFD will not allow the same and the brand owner or his representative will not have access to the proceedings followed by the ACFD, although they will get updates on their complaint from the ACFD office from time to time.
The DED will normally issue a fine against the opponent if they found the opponent is in breach, whereas the ACFD will not normally issue a fine against the opponent, although they impose other sanctions (see above).
Where it is necessary to file a criminal or a civil case before the Grievance Board against trademark infringements in Saudi Arabia, the brand owner has to first file a complaint before the ACFD and get the case referred to Bureau to obtain a finding in the case confirming that there has been a violation of the applicable trademark laws.
For this reason, we have frequently and successfully availed the ACFD as a platform to get redress of trademark infringement issues for our clients, without dragging the matters to long lasting litigation before the courts.