Commercial Data Law and Regulations
Royal Decree No.M/15, 14 Rabi' II 1423 [25 June 2002]
The English version of this document is for guidance only.
The Arabic version is the governing text.
As regards the implementation of the provisions of this Law, any clarification related, whether directly or indirectly, to the following shall be considered as commercial data:
- Number of goods, their quantity, size, volume, capacity, weight, production date, or expiry date.
- Place or country where they were manufactured or produced.
- Components of their composition.
- Name of producer or manufacturer or his attributes.
- Patents or other industrial proprietary rights or any concessions, rewards, or commercial or industrial features.
- Nomenclature or form by which some goods are normally defined or evaluated.
The commercial data shall be at least in Arabic and shall be truthful in all aspects, be it placed on the products themselves, on the shops or warehouses or their addresses, packaging, invoices, letterheads, or advertising venues, or otherwise as may be used in displaying goods to the public.
Medals, diplomas, rewards, or honorary degrees of any kind may not be indicated except for products to which such distinctive features apply, and for trade marks, and persons who acquired such distinctive features and to those who have succeeded to such rights. Such indication, however, shall include correct data relevant to the date, type, and the authority which granted such distinctive features. A party which participates in the display of products with others may not use for its own products those distinctive features awarded on jointly displayed products unless the source and type of distinctive features are indicated clearly.
The seller's name or address may not be affixed to products imported from a country other than that where the sale takes place, unless accompanied by a precise statement legibly written, indicating the country or place where the product was manufactured or produced. Persons residing in an area well known for manufacturing or producing certain products, and who trade in similar products imported from another area, may not use their trade marks on such similar products in a way that could be misleading to the public as to the origin of such products, even if such marks may not bear names or addresses of those persons, unless proper measures are taken to avoid confusion.
A manufacturer who owns a main factory in a certain area may not use the designation of such area on products manufactured for his own account in another area, unless such designation is coupled with the indication of the other area in a way that precludes any confusion.
Where quantity, size, volume, capacity, weight, origin, or ingredients of products are factors in determining their value, then import, sale, or display for sale of such products may be barred by a decision of the Minister of Commerce, unless such products bear one or more of such data. The method of affixing such data on the products and, when not possible, the alternative measures to be used, shall be determined by a decision of the Minister of Commerce.
Without prejudice to any harsher punishment, anyone violating the provisions of this Law shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand riyals. In case of repeated violation, the punishment shall be doubled, and the place of business closed for a period not exceeding a year.
Competent officers of the Ministry of Commerce are entrusted with inspecting and recording violations to the provisions of this Law.
The Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution shall have the jurisdiction to investigate violations to the provisions of this Law and to prosecute such violations before the competent juridical authority.
The Board of Grievances shall have the jurisdiction to adjudicate violations and disputes arising from implementation of the provisions of this Law.
The Board of Grievances may render a judgment to confiscate seized items and sell whatever is sellable and to deduct its value from the compensation and fines which may be imposed, and destroy the remaining or dispose of it in the manner it may deem appropriate. The Board may render a judgment to publish the decision of conviction, confiscation, or destruction in one of the daily newspapers issued in the area of residence of the convicted at his expense.
Without prejudice to the right of the parties concerned to claim compensation for damages arising from the use of untruthful data, they may at any time, even prior to filing any lawsuit, resort to the Board of Grievances to take the necessary protective measures.
The Minister of Commerce shall issue the Implementing Regulations and decisions necessary for the implementation of the provisions of this Law within one hundred and eighty days from the date of its issuance.
This Law shall be published in the Official Gazette and become effective from the date of its publication
Implementing Regulations of the Law of Commercial Data
Commercial data are the clarifications which must be affixed, directly or indirectly, to the goods or products to identify them or their distinctive features.
The producer or importer undertakes to write the mandatory commercial data on each unit of the goods or products he produces or imports, on the package of that unit and on the container that contains more than one unit, in an indelible manner.
The following data are considered mandatory:
- Number of goods, their quantity, size, volume, capacity, weight, and production or expiry dates.
- Place or country where they were manufactured or produced.
- Name of producer or manufacturer.
If the commodity affects or relates to the health of humans, animals or the environment, the clarification relating to the components of their composition shall include the following:
- Clarification as to whether the product is genetically modified altered or includes some of the same.
- Clarification as to whether the commodity contains hazardous materials and the extent to which it is hazardous.
- Clarification as to whether the product was treated by radiation.
All mandatory and optional commercial data shall be written in Arabic, in a clear manner, and shall be true in all aspects. It may be written in another language in addition to Arabic, but the Arabic version shall be overriding.
In accordance with provisions of Article Six of the Law of Commercial Data it is prohibited to import or sell products that do not carry any of the mandatory data provided for in Articles Three and Four of these Regulations.
It is prohibited to affix any data to a product including trademarks, which imply that the geographical area of origin of the product is other than its real origin.
If the manufacturer owns more than one factory in more than one country, he and the importer must state the name of the country where the commodity was produced, and if the stages of production are carried out in more than one country, this must be given in detail by stating the stages of production in each country. It is not sufficient to state the name of the place where the main factory is located.
The seller, the person to whose account the goods are distributed, the managers of companies, co-operatives, establishments and stores are liable, along with the producer or the importer, for all violations of this Law that occur within their authority. Each of them shall be subject to the penalties prescribed for the violator, and each shall be assumed to be aware of the violation, but he is entitled to deny this by all means of proof.
The General Department for Combating Commercial Fraud and the branches of the Ministry shall receive complaints and reports relating to violations of the provisions of this Law.
Detecting inspectors appointed by the Minister of Commerce shall be entrusted, jointly or severally, with detecting violations of the provisions of the Law and the decisions issued for its implementation, protective seizure of goods subject of the violation, the documents relating to them, taking of samples, seizure of the items strongly suspected to be in violation of the Law, and investigating the violators. They may, for this purpose, enter places, stores and warehouses where the commodities governed by the provisions of this Law are found, in addition to annexed warehouses and means of transport, whether these places are wholly or partially designated for said commodities.
Officials appointed pursuant to a decision by the Minister of Commerce shall have the capacity of judicial detection officers with regards to the application of the provisions of this Law, and they may seek the assistance of police departments and coordinate with municipalities and relevant agencies.
Detection of violations, collection of samples, seizure and handover of goods, lifting of seizure and protective seizure of documents shall be in accordance with official records, on the forms prepared by the General Department for Combating Commercial Fraud, provided that they indicate the place and date of detection, the name of the violator, the type of violation, a list and description of items detected. The records shall be signed by the detecting officer and the owner of the store, the manager or the person in charge of the place where the detection occurred. If he refuses to sign, this shall be indicated in the record.
The General Department for Combating Commercial Fraud and the competent branch of the Ministry shall, within two days from the date of detecting the violation, send the sample for analysis to the competent authority and keep two other samples identical to the sample sent.
The goods or products seized in accordance with this Law shall be dealt with as follows:
- If the violation is not related to the goods or products themselves and does not affect human, animal or environmental safety and health and the correction conforms to the Saudi standard for the commodity, it shall be corrected by removing the causes of the violation, through mentioning the missing clarification or correcting the faulty clarification in a clear manner that does not allow alteration or tampering with it, whether these data are mentioned in its label, description, the methods of advertisement, promotion or otherwise.
- If the violation affects the safety and health of humans, animals or the environment, or the correction does not conform to the standard of the commodity, it shall be disposed of in accordance with the directives of the Board of Grievances.
- Completing or correcting of the data shall not prevent infliction of the punishment set by law in case the violation is proved.
The General Department for Combating Commercial Fraud and the competent branch of the Ministry shall, within two weeks from the date of detecting the violation, complete the investigation thereon, prepare a memorandum on the facts of the subject-matter and lift the seizure, if its purposes are fulfilled, or confirm its continuity and specify the violation, the grounds for conviction and specify the articles of the Law violated; then, refer the file of the violation with a sample of the product, subject of the violation, to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution or its competent branch to take charge of the investigation and prosecution before the Board of Grievances.