Inventa International - Africa
It is common to see a peak in trademark applications that contain terms associated with a recent event and the covid-19 outbreak is no exception. This article reveals the number of trademarks that have been applied for containing the term ‘corona’ or ‘covid’ in the following African organisations, countries and regions: the African Intellectual Property Organisation, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, it is worth noting that the databases of some of these countries are incomplete and/or have not been updated.
By searching the term ‘corona’ in the aforementioned databases, the authors uncovered two trademark applications filed since 1 November 2019: a Moroccan trademark in Class 32 in the name of Cervecería Modelo de México, owner of the famous Corona beer, and another Moroccan mark for products in Class 25 in the name of Mohamed Bouchghoul.
A further two results appear when searching ‘covid’: the Moroccan trademark COVID-BOUCLIER (translated as COVID-SHIELD) to indicate products in Classes 9 and 10 (namely, masks and filters), applied for on behalf of FILAHYMOD, and the Zambian trademark KICK OUT COVID-19 PROJECT for products in Class 16 in the name of Sport in Action.
Therefore, overall, there has been no rush to obtain corona or covid-related trademark registrations in these countries. This becomes more apparent when compared to EU filing numbers. There were 34 EU trademarks with the term ‘corona’ applied for in the same period. If country-specific trademarks are included, this number rises to 254 marks. With regard to the term ‘covid’, there were 33 EU trademark applications, which similarly increases to 258 when including country-specific marks.
In view of the present study, there is a clear difference between the filing numbers in African jurisdictions and those of EU countries. Despite the potential gaps in some African countries’ databases, it is safe to say that the rising trend of trademark applications containing the terms ‘covid’ and ‘corona’ has not been seen in the African countries considered.
However, given these gaps and the delays caused by office closures, more trademark applications using these terms may appear in future IP bulletins.