Post by Rani Al Achkar
It is almost a “known fact” that our public sector is inefficient (not to say corrupt) to a point that we have always needed a middleman to carry out our administrative tasks. I have always been doing my own stuff myself and have been proving this theory wrong each time.
A month ago, I was asked to investigate on how to register a logo as a trademark.
After checking the website of the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET), I found a way to start the process online:
- Visit https://portal.economy.gov.lb/ (You may get a security warning, click on proceed anyway!)
- Click on Sign in (upper right corner)
- Create a new account.
After signing-in you are presented with several options. The trademark registration application normally includes 6 steps and can be filled in half an hour. Once completed (and your account verified before submission to the MoET), the final page includes the list of required documents (including a 1,000 LBP stamp) and an expected date of submission of the documents.
This “expected” date being too close (a week) I called trying to postpone it (at 01 982 358).
The employee at the end of the line took the initiative to go through my application and gave me some valuable advice on how to reduce my registration costs while increasing the areas covered by the trademark.
After reviewing the whole application, she told me that it cannot be processed at the moment because they were on strike! But informed me that I will be notified as soon as the process kicks back in.
I went on a two-week trip later that week.
On my return, I found a notice that I was contacted twice by the MoET (the note included a name, address and a phone number) so I called back. The person told me that my application has been idle on her desk for too long (two weeks!) and asked for an urgent meeting to finalize it.
I took all the required documents (except for the 1,000 LBP stamp) and headed early to the MoET expecting a full day of office tours and collection of autographs.
My file was finalized in 30 minutes.
The staff was very friendly, helpful, and the meeting helped reduce furthermore my registration fees. In addition to that, I was given valuable advice on how to register a “.lb” website. At the end, I was handed an invoice to be paid either at the bank or at the VAT building. I chose the bank where it took me 45 minutes just to pay the invoice!
After handing the receipt, printing the certificate and having it signed, the process took another 15 minutes.
I was done before noon.
Our government sector is not as corrupt and inefficient as most people tend to think. Just come prepared and be nice, most public offices are overloaded and understaffed; keep in mind that your file is not the only one there.
NB: The only “corruption” I did that day was paying 1,250 LBP at the cafeteria for the 1,000 LBP stamp I forgot to bring.