Inventa International - Africa
After some uncertainty due to the covid-19 pandemic, the first Angolan IP Congress is now confirmed to take place both physically and online on 23 and 24 April 2021. It will be backed by the new Angolan Intellectual Law Association (AADI) – located in Angola's Catholic University – and aims to teach attendees about the Angolan Industrial Property Law, with a particular focus on trademarks.
The theme of the conference is ‘the protection of industrial property and copyright as a source of attraction for investment and the generation of economic and social development’.
With regard to trademarks, there will be debates on:
- the protection of Angolan trademarks in the Southern African Development Community free-trade area; and
- the requirement for genuine use of a trademark and cancellation for non-use.
The conference will address several aspects of the Angolan Industrial Property Law, including the idea that – contrary to what is stated in Article 19 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which holds that a trademark registration may only be cancelled after an uninterrupted period of at least three years of non-use – Article 39(d) of the Angolan Industrial Property Law states that the period of non-use is only two years with regard to cancellation of a mark. This is a problem for both national and foreign companies that wish to invest in a country that has many bureaucratic and organisational obstacles to establishing a business.
However, improvements have been made. The period between filing an application and granting a trademark now averages three years. Moreover, since the legislation states that the requirement of genuine use may only be applied to registered trademarks – and not to applied-for marks – interested parties have more time to introduce their business to the market.
The conference will also address the legal consequences of lack of genuine use of a mark, as well as launch a debate on the draft of the new Industrial Property Law, which – together with most of the world's legal systems in this area – aims to instill an initial grace period of five years.