Five things you need to know – Middle East and Africa
Algeria has remained on the priority watch list in this year’s Office of the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report, the US administration noting that the country’s ban on a significant number of imported pharmaceutical products and medical devices that compete with domestically manufactured products is a matter of paramount concern. Further, the report states that Algeria needs to make more progress to provide adequate and effective IP protection and enforcement, including providing adequate judicial remedies in cases of patent infringement and increasing enforcement efforts against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.
The IP Office of Ghana recently announced that official fees for trademarks and patents would increase by 20% from 19 May 2020. According to IP firm JAH & Co, the rise follows ratification by the Ghanaian parliament.
The Mozambique government has officially deposited its instrument of accession to the Banjul Protocol on trademarks with the director general of the African Regional IP Office (ARIPO). From 15 August 2020, Mozambique will be eligible for designation on ARIPO trademark applications, meaning that 11 ARIPO member states have now enacted the protocol, with the others being Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
United Arab Emirates
Following the reduction of official fees in July 2019, the UAE Trademark Office recently announced further decreases, which were implemented in April this year and apply across most filing, prosecution and register maintenance actions, as well as oppositions. They also apply to searching, renewals, recordals of assignments and changes of name and address, affecting a wide range of trademark costs by between 25% and 30%. Further, the cost of obtaining replacement certificates or official extracts of third-party marks has been cut.
Zanzibar’s Business and Property Registration Agency has launched an online IP registration system to “make it easier and faster” to seek trademark registration in the country compared to manual paper filing. To date, the system is in an early phase of roll-out and is currently limited to certain business entities. However, it is expected that full e-filing will be introduced in the short-to-medium term. Further, the registry has begun publishing a trademark journal.