Ninth Edition of the Nice Classification adopted

Uganda
Uganda has adopted the Ninth Edition of the Nice Classification.

On June 10 2009 the Uganda Registrar General’s Office issued a letter to all IP practitioners announcing that trademark applications must comply with the Nice Classification. The letter referred to a copy of the Ninth Edition of the classification, which is available at the registry.  The classification includes services in Classes 35 to 45.

This development was interpreted by some practitioners to mean that service mark protection had become available in Uganda. However, Uganda's Trademarks Act and Rules date back to 1952 and refer solely to goods. The Ugandan authorities subsequently confirmed that the law has not yet been amended to provide for service mark protection. Accordingly, the registry does not accept applications for the registration of service marks.

The June 10 letter reflects merely the fact that the specification of goods in trademark applications must comply with the most up-to-date classification.

Nevertheless, Uganda's government is aware of the need to recognize service marks. A Trademarks Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will provide for service mark protection. The bill may be passed before the end of the year. The issue of supporting regulations and procedures remains open.

Mac Spence, Spoor & Fisher, St Helier

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