Five things you need to know – Middle East and Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo intends to launch an electronic system to help combat the sale of counterfeit phones in the country, where the issue is so significant that Samsung withdrew from the market completely in 2018. According to Christian Katende, head of the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the electronic solution “will be implemented by next September at the latest and will help to protect users from mobile phone theft, phone fraud, and mobile phone cloning”.

Kenya

The Draft Intellectual Property Bill 2020 – which at the time of writing is with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development for review – proposes to merge the Kenya Industrial Property Institute, the Kenya Copyright Board and the Anti-counterfeit Authority into one entity, the Intellectual Property Office of Kenya, as the authority to handle all IP matters. The bill also seeks to protect geographical indications, establish a specialised court with jurisdiction over all IP matters, provide guidance on well-known marks and introduce the concepts of ‘hypothecation’ and ‘exhaustion’ of trademark rights.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property recently invited views on a draft regulation for licensing IP business. The new regulation would allow entities to present IP cases before the authority on behalf of their clients – one aim of the regulation being to increase the number of qualified IP agents and oversee their activities.

Uganda

The EUIPO has announced that the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is now part of its TMclass and DesignClass system. Going forward, the URSB will use and accept the list of terms from the database of goods and services in TMclass, as well as the product indications in the harmonised database of DesignClass.

United Arab Emirates

Amazon has stated that it will expand its Project Zero initiative to its platforms in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The brand protection programme has three aspects. The first involves automated protections that use technology to scan the company’s stores and block listings for counterfeit products. The second is a self-service tool that allows brands enrolled in the programme to remove counterfeit listings themselves. The final component is a product serialisation service designed to allow Amazon to individually scan and confirm the authenticity of products that are purchased in its stores.

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