Five things you need to know – Middle East and Africa

Burundi

The owners of trademarks registered before 28 July 2009 (ie, before the Industrial Property Law 1/13 (2009) came into force) have until 28 July 2019 to renew their rights. Before the 2009 legislation, registrations remained in force indefinitely, but the new law introduced a validity period of 10 years from the filing date. Going forward, trademarks may be renewed for consecutive periods of 10 years.

Dubai

The Department of Economic Development has revealed that it ordered the closure of 13,948 social media accounts selling counterfeit goods in 2018. The key platform – used for all but 419 accounts – was Instagram. The remainder were Facebook accounts and the total targeted accounts boasted nearly 78 million followers.

Kenya

An amendment to the Kenyan Anti-counterfeiting Act has resulted in the creation of a system for recording trademarks with the customs authorities. Under the new system, once a Customs Recordal Application has been approved, Kenyan Anti-counterfeit Agency inspectors will have the same powers as customs officers in respect of imported counterfeit goods.

Nigeria

The release of its first compendium of trademark opposition rulings derived from published applications has been confirmed by the Trademarks Registry of the Commercial Law Department. The 664-page publication follows “months of research by the trademark registry”, according to the department’s head of administration Patrick Wemambu. Previously, rulings were not issued to parties except when payment was made for a certified copy – and rights holders have decided on many occasions not to incur that cost unless pursuing an appeal. To obtain a copy, practitioners need to purchase it from the registry for N30,000 (approximately $100) by paying through a designated account and bring proof of payment to the IP office.

Sudan

The Sudanese Trademark Office has confirmed the dissolution of its Appeal Committee and that the implementation stipulated by Article 16(2) of IP Law (8/1969) will be enforced. It stated that any refusal by the registrar to register a mark or any condition, amendment, modification or limitation that it imposes will be subject to appeal to the court. This means that appeals will inevitably be more costly and burdensome now that court filings and related expenses are required.

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