By Ninsiima Irene: Email:
Regional protection of trademarks in African states that are member states to the Banjul Protocol on Marks is achieved through registration of a trademark(s) in a member state (s) through ARIPO secretariat offices or directly through the Intellectual Property Office of the member state. The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) which is an Intergovernmental Organisation for Cooperation among African States on Matters of Intellectual Property is entrusted with the registration of marks and the administration of such registered marks on behalf of the Contracting States.

The Banjul protocol in line with the ARIPO’s objectives was adopted to promote the harmonisation and development of intellectual property laws and to establish common services necessary for the co-ordination, harmonisation and development of intellectual property activities affecting its members. The protocol was adopted on November 9 1993 at Banjul and entered into force on March 6 1997. As of today, it has been ratified by a number of African States that include; Uganda, Kenya, The United Republic of Tanzania, Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia. The protocol provides a centralised trademark registration procedure. Read more


By Ninsiima Irene and Angualia daniel:

An opposition to the registration of a trademark grounded on existence of a similar mark will be upheld by the Registrar of Trademarks or the court, where the opponent establishes a likelihood of confusion to an average consumer in the territory where the earlier mark is protected. Likelihood of confusion is the possibility that an average consumer will be unable to distinguish goods or services bearing the earlier mark from goods or services bearing the contested mark from a different origin because of identity or similarity of the marks and identity or similarity of the goods or services covered by the mark.

The Trademarks Act 2010[1] prohibits registration of identical or resembling trademarks, and confers the exclusive right to the use of a trademark by the registered owner.[2] The protection given to a registered owner of a trademark is based on the essential function of a trademark which is not to describe the goods or services but rather to indicte their source or origin. According to Kerly’s Law of Trademarks and Trade names;[3] the essential function of a trademark is to guarantee to the consumer or the ultimate user of the origin of the goods or services by enabling him without any possibility of confusion to distinguish that product   from products which have another origin. Thus the law prohibits registration of identical or resembling trademarks, except as otherwise provided. Read more

Trademark Protection In Uganda

Trade mark protection:

trademark-registrationProvision is made in the Act for the registration of trade marks for goods and for services. However, as the Rules under the old Act are still in force, they make no provision for the classification or registration of services.

The Act also provides for certification marks as well as for defensive registration of trademarks, and for the registration of series of trade marks.

The Act further provides for the register to be pided into two Parts, Part A for trademarks which are distinctive, and Part B for trademarks which are capable of distinguishing.

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The Common Law Rights: In Trademark Registration

Common law rights:

law rightsFrom an enforcement perspective, Uganda is a former British Colony and, as such, it recognizes that a person who has acquired a reputation in a mark in relation to goods or services may prevent others from misrepresenting that they are associated with the proprietor in a manner that is likely to cause confusion and deception and damage to the person with a reputation.

This right is expressly recognized by the Trade Marks Act which states that nothing in the Act shall be taken to affect a right of action against a person for passing off goods or services as the goods or services of another or the remedies in respect of the right of action.

Marking of goods:

The marking of goods is optional. Read more

Trademark registration procedure

Trademark registration procedure in Uganda

  • Trademark-RegistrationsConduct a Search. A person who intends to apply for the registration of a trademark carries out a search in the trademarks registry to ascertain whether the trademark exists in the register and if not, whether it is suitable, that is, it is not offensive.
  • Advice by the Registrar. A person may if he or she wishes obtain advice from the registrar as to whether the proposed trademark appears to the registrar to be inherently adapted to distinguish or capable of distinguishing goods or services of the proposed undertaking from those of other undertakings. The registrar shall then advice accordingly.

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