Market Insight

Updates from an international team of correspondents who report on recent developments in trademark law and practice in their home jurisdictions, as well as strategic issues and those relating to brand protection, portfolio management and value creation.

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13 JANUARY 2022

Figures reveal early pandemic rush for covid-related trademarks

Trademark registrations in early 2020 on the small island state of Cape Verde reflects the seismic shift created by coronavirus for IP teams at large pharmaceutical groups.

25 NOVEMBER 2021

The sugarloaf pineapple: GIs as a development tool in action

Benin, Africa, has registered its first protected geographical indication, the result of much planning and collaboration by the national government, the European Union and the French Development Agency. It is hoped that the move will boost economic growth and preserve agricultural heritage.

18 NOVEMBER 2021

How the military coup in Sudan affects trademark rights

Government services related to intellectual property appear unaffected by last month’s military action by the Sudanese military but it remains to be seen how long this remains the case.

28 OCTOBER 2021

How the Global Innovation Index rankings highlights African innovation

The GII assesses the specific strengths and weaknesses of African nations from a trademark perspective. This need-to-know information provides a fascinating IP-centric perspective on economic development.

07 OCTOBER 2021

Demystifying the types of permissible trademarks in the emerging IP stronghold of Cape Verde

While Cape Verde has no established convention for non-traditional trademarks, a deep dive into the relevant legislation reveals ways in which they can be used.


The far-reaching influence of African artists in the world of corporate branding strategies

The collaboration of artists with globally recognised brands in marketing campaigns is well established and can benefit both sides. Today African artists are prominent in this sphere and are beginning to have a global impact.


Understanding the singular regulations of opposition proceedings in Cape Verde

Cape Verde does not belong to regional or international treaties, allowing for local trademark protection. However, companies often fail to realise a local trademark is necessary and are forced to claim well-known or renowned status, which usually makes the opposition proceedings more complex and expensive.

19 AUGUST 2021

Understanding the opposition process in Sao Tome and Principe’s IP legislation

From grounds of refusal to crucial milestones, Sao Tome and Principe’s trademark process sets out a thorough process whereby rights holders and interested third parties can object to applications.

29 JULY 2021

Why Rwanda is the next big opportunity for IP investors

Rwanda has made major socioeconomic progress in the last 20 years, with a $1.2 billion investment into energy production and a rapidly growing population attracting the attention of foreign investors. A deep dive into the existing trademark regime shows why the country is one to watch.

22 JULY 2021

Yoruba trademark case sparks Nigerian cultural appropriation debate

CultureTree's viral tweet and hashtag #Yorubaisnotforsale sparks an online debate about whether registering a trademark name for an ethnic group is cultural appropriation.

08 JULY 2021

Examining the official and unofficial translation rules for trademarks in Cape Verde

Applicants filing in alphabets other than Latin can avoid having their trademarks refused in Cape Verde by adjusting their filing strategy and making necessary alterations to the application before submitting it.

24 JUNE 2021

Three types of patent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo explained

The thriving IP landscape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provides IP owners with several options for patent applications. Here, we get to grips with the types of patent that can be registered.

10 JUNE 2021

Latest amendments to Uganda’s Trademark Regulations come into effect

Everything brand owners need to know about the recent changes to Ugandan trademark legislation.

03 JUNE 2021

Can gambling and casino trademarks be protected in Egypt?

Although casinos are permitted in Egypt, they can only be used by tourists, creating a number of intriguing IP rights issues when it comes to what constitutes legal and illegal services.

27 MAY 2021

ARIPO sets plans to further digitise processes at working group hearing

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation has hosted the 10th working group session to discuss improvements to its online platform and streamline administrative procedures. 

20 MAY 2021

Gambia ratifies the Banjul Protocol

As Gambia has deposited its instrument of ratification with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and joined the Banjul Protocol, here is what brand owners should know about registering trademarks in the jurisdiction going forward.

13 MAY 2021

Nivea wins men's shower gel packaging dispute in South Africa

The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Koni Multinational Brands against a ruling that its Connie men's shower gel products are confusingly similar to those of Nivea.

29 APRIL 2021

Djibouti – a sea of opportunities

Everything brand owners need to know about trademark registration in Djibouti.

22 APRIL 2021

How African companies can use the international trademark system to their advantage

African corporations can rely on international trademark systems such as the Madrid Protocol when registering a trademark in an African country. However, it is crucial to be familiar with the process.

15 APRIL 2021

An essential guide to filing trademarks in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s economy is growing, and with that comes an increase in trademark filings. Here is all you need to know about registering marks in the country.

08 APRIL 2021

Trademark data reveals South African investment has opened previously closed markets in Mozambique

South African applicants account for the second highest number of trademarks in Mozambique – outranging their US counterparts by branching into previously untouched sectors.

01 APRIL 2021

Data reveals significant drop in national registrations in São Tomé and Príncipe

Analysis of trademark filing data over the past 15 years reveals a disproportionately high number of international registrations in the island country of São Tomé and Príncipe – spurred mostly by US software companies such as Apple and Intel.

25 MARCH 2021

An essential guide to filing trademarks in Mauritius

IP experts explain the ins and outs of registering trademarks in the island nation of Mauritius.

17 MARCH 2021

Primark v Truworths – who will win?

The South African Primark v Truworths dispute is a warning for IP owners around the world to make use of their trademarks before they are cancelled for non-use. Although the case is still pending, it provides brand owners with vital information for protecting their marks.

11 MARCH 2021

Kenya proceeds with the publication of expired trademarks

The Industrial Property Institute of Kenya has issued a special edition of the Industrial Property Journal, in which it has announced that trademark owners that have not filed to renew their mark will be publicly notified. Further, it has listed more than 2,400 expired marks, which it intends to remove from the trademark register.

04 MARCH 2021

A brand owner’s guide to Africa’s regional IP agreements

Inventa International takes a whistle-stop tour through the two regional IP agreements that cover the African continent – the African Intellectual Property Organisation and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation.

25 FEBRUARY 2021

Cancellation for non-use can be used to avoid market monopoly in Sao Tome and Principe

Rights holders that are struggling to file a trademark application that is similar to one that is already registered but not in use should consider filing a request of cancellation for non-use to overcome this undue monopolisation.

25 FEBRUARY 2021

How the concept of morality is implemented at the African Intellectual Property Organisation

The concept of good morals in the trademark field is ever-changing and depends on the region and group in question. Trademark professionals consider what the African Intellectual Property Organisation is doing to both maintain a standardised trademark practice and adapt this concept to the regions that it covers.

18 FEBRUARY 2021

Trademark registration in the Seychelles – a global data analysis

We take a dive into the Seychelles’ trademark filing numbers to reveal the most popular classes and top country filers in the region.

11 FEBRUARY 2021

An essential guide to filing trademarks in Uganda

Uganda is an emerging market, and with this economic rise comes an increase in trademark filing activity – but not all applications are registered in good faith. Here is all you need to know about filing trademarks in the country.

04 FEBRUARY 2021

First Angolan IP Congress confirmed

The first Angolan IP Congress promises to make a valuable contribution to IP law in Angola – and for Africa in general. Here we outline everything you need to know about the upcoming event.

28 JANUARY 2021

Challenges of using the Madrid Protocol in Africa

Applicants should be aware of several challenges with regard to using the Madrid Protocol to file trademarks in Africa, including bureaucratic delays, conflicts between international and national law, and issues with civil versus common law countries.

14 JANUARY 2021

How to proceed when a trademark is about to be granted in Cape Verde

Receiving an official notification for the payment of registration fees indicates that an application is soon to be granted. However, between paying the fees and receiving the registration certificate, there are crucial steps that the applicant must consider.

17 DECEMBER 2020

Trademark registration in Somalia and Somaliland – what you need to know

The Somalia Trademarks Office resumed operations at the end of 2019, when the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued Ministerial Decree 1/2019, stipulating that trademark registrations are once again permitted. The decree is based on Somali Trademark Law 3 (1955), as amended by Law 33 (1975) and Law 3 (1987).

10 DECEMBER 2020

Global data analysis reveals Angola’s varying trademark landscape

While Angola has been on the radars of multinationals for two decades now, there have been fluctuations in interest in such companies registering their trademarks there. While the peak in registrations was in 2014, there are signs that these are on the up again, making it crucial to examine who is registering in Angola.

03 DECEMBER 2020

A fond farewell to Fernando dos Santos – Bemanya Twebaze elected new director general of ARIPO

In a tribute to ex-African Regional Intellectual Property Office director general Fernando dos Santos and in introduction of successor Bemanya Twebaze, Inventa International reflects on eight years of dos Santos’ leadership and what the next term will bring.

26 NOVEMBER 2020

Presidential election in Tanzania could shake the trademark landscape

Tanzania has enjoyed a decade of growth and innovation, which has led to an increase in trademark filing activity. However, the recent presidential elections have caused concern among trademark owners, who fear that instability could slow down innovation.

19 NOVEMBER 2020

How to submit a trademark customs recordal in Egypt

While many African countries do not have official systems to protect trademarks from infringement, there are a number of informal ways to obtain protection. This article reveals how to do so in Egypt.

12 NOVEMBER 2020

What do I want to drink today? Data search reveals African filing trends

Inventa International takes a deep dive into trademark databases to show how the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages sector varies among African jurisdictions.

05 NOVEMBER 2020

Ranking (trademark) innovation in Africa

After the release of this year’s Global Innovation Index, experts consider what the rankings signify for African countries.

29 OCTOBER 2020

Essential steps for Chinese companies filing trademark applications in Africa

Chinese companies are showing a growing interest in registering trademarks in Africa. As there is no single way to do this, foreign rights holders must be aware of the different paths to take to expand their brands throughout the continent.

22 OCTOBER 2020

Proof of use in Algeria

Algeria’s trademark system has many particularities –  here is all you need to know about proof of use on filing a renewal.

01 OCTOBER 2020

Amendments to OAPI system will shake up the entire registration process

Following updates to the Bangui Agreement, which rules the African Organisation for Intellectual Property (OAPI) system, OAPI member states can expect to see many changes to operations at the organisation to the prosecution and litigation procedures with regard to trademarks, patents and administrative processes.


Is Western Sahara a no-go for trademark protection?

Applicants will generally struggle to obtain trademark protection in Western Sahara as there is a conflict in legislation from jurisdictions governing the region – here is all you need to know.


EUIPO launch of AfrIPI aims to shake up trademark registration in Africa

The launch of a new EUIPO project focusing on intellectual property in Africa will see a number of tools for trademark and design registrations made available to IP offices across the continent – creating an exciting opportunity for European business looking to expand into Africa and vice versa.


A guide to OAPI: what you need to know

A comprehensive overview of trademark registration procedures at the African Intellectual Property Organisation provides registrants with the know-how to file a successful application, as well as offering realistic time frames and guidance on what to expect.


Covid-19 prompts applicant-friendly requirements in Cape Verde

Although Cape Verde currently has a stringent and inflexible trademark application process, temporary measures necessitated by covid-19 could be the first moves towards a more modernised system

27 AUGUST 2020

Is covid-19 a force majeure for trademark use in Angola?

In the wake of restrictions imposed on trade because of the covid-19 pandemic, the Angolan IP Law counts the virus as permissible grounds for valid non-use of a mark, but rights holders should be aware that there is still uncertainty surrounding the parameters of trademark use during this period.

20 AUGUST 2020

Understanding the nuances of trademark use in various ARIPO jurisdictions

In order for a trademark registration to remain valid, the owner must use the mark in accordance with the relevant jurisdiction’s definition of ‘use’. However, what constitutes ‘use’ in African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation member states can vary; therefore, it is crucial for potential applicants to have a solid grasp of trademark practice in the jurisdiction of interest.

13 AUGUST 2020

How to best manage trademark applications in Africa

IP experts pick through the myriad options for protecting trademarks across the continent and provide key pointers to developing a comprehensive, cost-effective strategy.

06 AUGUST 2020

African database searches uncover small rise in corona or covid-related marks

IP experts explore the filing numbers for covid-19-related marks in jurisdictions across Africa. The numbers suggest that nations have not jumped to capitalise on the pandemic, with closures at IP offices possibly being the reason for this.

30 JULY 2020

Confusion remains over the not-so-young Trademarks Act of Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Trademarks Act 2014 has caused much confusion among rights holders, as there is little clarification of its application and date of entry into force. While the country’s registry has informally announced that the act is in effect, uncertainty remains surrounding its application. However, recent regulations hope to shed some light on the matter.

23 JULY 2020

Ethiopia’s online trademark system brought to a halt by internet shutdown

Internet access has been cut across Ethiopia after national protests broke out in relation to the fatal shooting of singer Hachalu Hundessa on 29 June. The internet shutdown is having a knock-on effect on the trademark registration process, which has recently gone digital.

16 JULY 2020

Registering defensive trademarks in Mozambique

In Mozambique, the declaration of intention to use system allows applicants to file trademarks with the purpose of preventing third parties from registering and using similar marks for different goods or services, with no obligation of use.

09 JULY 2020

The absence of service marks protection: a roadbump in the history of Zambian IP law

With efforts to modernise Zambian IP laws grinding to a halt, service mark owners and consumers must rely on alternative legal protection. However, the more rights holders seek to effectively protect their service marks, the more likely the government is to push ahead with new legislation.

02 JULY 2020

The importance of brand protection in Kenya

While it is best practice to make trademark protection a priority when starting a new business, it is an area that is often neglected. Unfortunately, failure to have in place proper safeguards from the start can lead to unpleasant consequences.

25 JUNE 2020

Sao Tome and Príncipe – tips to manage trademark portfolios during covid-19

Amid the covid-19 pandemic, many rights holders are facing unprecedented financial difficulties, making them more cost-conscious than ever before. But there are a number of ways to minimise trademark portfolio costs in Sao Tome and Príncipe.

11 JUNE 2020

Why the green economy is important to Ghana – and how certification marks contribute to it

The rules governing certification marks aim to prevent the registration and use of unregulated green marks that falsely claim to be eco-friendly, thereby supporting sustainable economic growth under the green economy model.

04 JUNE 2020

The impact of covid-19 on IP rights prosecution in Cape Verde

This article reflects on the obstacles raised by the covid-19 pandemic with regard to the administrative processes of IP rights in Cape Verde, now that the Cape Verde Patent and Trademark Office has reopened its doors.

28 MAY 2020

Mozambique joins the Banjul Protocol on trademarks

On 15 May 2020 the Mozambique government deposited its instrument of accession to the Banjul Protocol at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO). This is excellent news for future applicants as ARIPO is a much more cost-effective choice when it comes to filing applications in multiple jurisdictions.

14 MAY 2020

WIPO data reveals rise in international trademark applications originating from Africa

WIPO’s annual 2019 statistics reveal a record year in terms of international IP rights, with a 24% increase in applications originating from Africa. However, while this growth is positive, there is still some way to go.

07 MAY 2020

Mauritius: an African success story

On 30 July 2019 the Mauritius Parliament approved and passed the Industrial Property Bill 2019, which was then published in the Government Gazette on 10 August 2019. The bill aims to update and strengthen protection for IP rights, as well as to harmonise the current legislation in order to meet the challenges of globalised industry.

30 APRIL 2020

Amendments to the trademark registration procedure in Angola

There have been many changes in 2020 to procedures for registering industrial property rights in Angola, particularly with regard to trademark registration. The most significant revision is the alteration to the payment period for granting fees and the possibility of requesting a 60-day extension.

23 APRIL 2020

Amendments to Zanzibar’s IP practices

Zanzibar’s Business and Property Registration Agency recently introduced several changes to its practice, which are set to shake up the country’s IP landscape.

16 APRIL 2020

The growth of trademarks in Angola

As Angola invests more and more in IP protection, the numbers show that this is paying off, as filing activity has been increasing since 1991.

09 APRIL 2020

Somalia Trademarks Office resumes operations after almost 30 years

The Somalia Trademarks Office resumed its operations at the end of 2019, when Ministerial Decree 1/2019 was issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, stipulating that trademark registrations are once again possible.

02 APRIL 2020

How religion influences trademark applications in Libya

The principles of morality, modesty and prohibition encompassed in Sharia influence the registration and enforcement of IP rights. Certain goods and services that may seem commonplace to brand owners and consumers are prohibited and therefore trademarks related to them are not registrable in Libya.

02 APRIL 2020

Life of a trademark at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation

While the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation's system is complex, it is easily accessible, not only because of the technology available but also for the clarity of its legislation when it comes to completing a trademark registration.

19 MARCH 2020

Cape Verde makes its first steps to protect appellations of origin and geographical indications

During its short existence, the Cape Verde Institute of Management and Quality of Intellectual Property has mainly focused on protecting trademarks and patents. Other IP rights – such as appellations of origin and geographical indications – have therefore been disregarded. However, this is starting to change.

12 MARCH 2020

Increase in IP fees could shake up filing in Ghana and Tunisia

Many African countries have raised their IP fees in the past few years due to economic growth, a rising interest in protecting IP assets and the modernisation of countries’ IP systems. We take a look at the latest updates from Ghana and Tunisia, which have seen some astonishing increases in payments.

05 MARCH 2020

Counterfeit goods: a critical situation in Mozambique

A rundown of what the Mozambican government is doing to tackle the production and circulation of counterfeit goods in the country.

05 MARCH 2020

Registration challenges for pharmaceutical trademarks in Angola

There remains confusion over the registration of active substances in medicines and how this is regulated by the World Health Organisation and the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property, after several publications in the Industrial Property Bulletin stated that applications were not regulated as per the Angolan Industrial Property Law.

27 FEBRUARY 2020

The law on distinctive signs in Mozambique explained

Navigating the multiple types of industrial property right that an entity can use to protect distinctive signs in commerce in Mozambique can be difficult. Here is a guide to securing the right protection.

13 FEBRUARY 2020

How to stay on top of trademark oppositions in Lesotho

Filing an opposition before the Lesotho Trademark Registry does not have to be a struggle – Inventa International reveals what applicants need to know about the process.

16 JANUARY 2020

Social responsibility of brands and protection of well-known trademarks in Angola

It can be difficult to obtain protection for a mark in Angola if it is not well known. Being socially aware is advantageous in terms of brand value and goodwill and can help to establish notoriety, thereby aiding the holder to successfully protect its mark. Trademark holders should consider this as they manage their marks.

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