Trademark and passing-off litigation in sub-Saharan Africa

By Nick Redfearn and Carole Theuri

The rise in numbers of trademark cases is good news for brand owners operating in sub-Saharan Africa and should help to develop a robust body of case law for this area

Africa as a continent is geographically bigger than the European Union, the United States and China combined, and is the world’s second fastest-growing region, after Asia. The long-term economic boom is projected to last decades – it is being driven by urbanisation and consequently can be classed as a consumer goods boom, meaning that brands are playing a significant role in shaping the IP landscape in Africa. This article looks at trademark and trade dress jurisprudence from the civil courts of the emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa – a region which excludes the more legally developed South Africa and the more Arabic-influenced North Africa. A number of themes can be distilled from looking at case law across the region.

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Issue 72