QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
How much does it cost to file a patent?
Fees relating to patents are dependent on multiple factors including:
• Technology the patent covers
• Information provided by the inventor
• Process chosen by the inventor
What is the Lebanese Arbitration Center's responsibility during the arbitration process?
The Center oversees the arbitration process and is responsible for:
• Appointing arbitrators or confirming, as the case may be, arbitrators nominated by the parties
• Deciding upon challenges of arbitrators
• Fixing and extending time limits
• Scrutinizing and approving all arbitral awards
• Fixing the arbitrators' fees taking into consideration the amount in dispute
What is a "commercial representative"?
A commercial representative is:
• An agent that, without any contractual basis, negotiates to buy or sell, lease, and or provide services in the name or for the account of a merchant
• A merchant that exclusively distributes and/or sells a product in representation of another merchant
Can a joint-stock company be managed by foreigners?
Yes, it can. However, the majority of the board of a joint-stock company should be formed by Lebanese.
What are preferential shares?
Preferential shares can be created by virtue of a decision of an extraordinary general meeting, giving their owners preferential rights over material benefits only.
Am I allowed to transfer funds from Lebanon and vice versa?
Yes, you are. Complete funds movements from Lebanon and vice versa are acceptable. Currency switch can be executed without any restrictions and while maintaining banking secrecy, which cannot be lifted, except in some cases.
How do I determine the nationality of a joint stock company?
A joint stock company formed and duly registered in Lebanon is automatically considered Lebanese even if the majority of shareholders are not Lebanese.
Does Lebanon use the international classification for designs?
No, it doesn't.
Is it mandatory to register a trademark in the Middle East and North Africa?
If you are seeking protection of your trademark in the Middle East and North Africa, you should register your trademark in each of said countries which actually provide protection on a first-to-file, rather than a first-to-use basis. Having a first-to-file system means trademark registration is absolutely necessary in order to obtain rights on a trademark. Unlike common law countries, the use of the trademark without registration does not necessarily establish protectable rights.
What are the rules for using the (tm), SM, or (r) symbol?
Marking, or the use of these symbols, is not compulsory in the Middle East and North Africa. However, using any of those symbols on a trademark is advisable because it will give notice to the public about the owners' rights.
How should my co-founders and I split up the company equity?
This is a question that needs to be answered on a case-by-case basis. It is generally not advisable to make an even 50/50 split, as it can lead to a lack of control and motivation. Have an honest, open discussion and don’t be selfish. This conversation needs to be held early, and put into writing.
What are the main activities of an offshore company?
The main activities of an offshore company are:
• The negotiation and signature of contracts and agreements with respect to operations and activities that will be enforced outside the Lebanese territory and concerning products located abroad or in the customs-free zone
• The management of companies and institutions which activities are strictly restricted to operations and activities to be executed outside Lebanon and the assignment of professional, administrative and regulatory services, computer software and related services offered to companies located outside Lebanon, upon the request of such companies
• Undertaking trade activities outside Lebanon concerning multipartite operations and for such purposes, the offshore company can negotiate, sign contracts, export merchandises and reissue invoices for operations and transactions taking place abroad or in the customs-free zones in Lebanon. This includes the right to use facilities available in the customs-free zones as warehouses for imported merchandise for the purpose of re-exportation
• Undertaking sea transportation activities
• Subscribing to shares or parts or bonds and participating in foreign Companies and institu-tions, and granting loans to foreign companies in which the offshore company owns more than 20% of the share capital
• Acquiring rights to the representation of foreign companies in foreign markets
• Opening of branches and offices located abroad for representation purposes
• Build, invest, manage and own commercial projects, except for projects relating to prohibited activities (as mentioned hereunder)
• Obtain credits and loans from banks and financial institutions operating in Lebanon or abroad to finance its activities
• Lease offices in Lebanon, and acquire real-estate properties therein to the extent necessary for its activity and in accordance with the Lebanese laws regulating the acquisition by non-Lebanese of real-estate properties in Lebanon
What is the minimum capital of a partnership limited by shares?
The capital of a partnership limited by shares cannot be less than LBP 30,000,000 divided into equal shares of no less than LBP 1,000 per share.
Can a partnership limited by shares be dissolved by the withdrawal of one of the partners?
No, the company is not dissolved if one of the partners withdraws from it.
What is the most used type of company in Lebanon?
Limited liability companies and joint stock companies are the most registered types of companies in Lebanon.
What can be the minimum value of the trademark assignment?
One dollar is enough to assign a trademark.