Tanzania is divided in two part, the mainland Tanganyika and the island Zanzibar, both have their own IP law. This article concerns Tanganyika trademark law.

 

 

Introduction:

Language: Swahili

Capital: Dodoma

Area: 947,303 km2

Population: 51,820,000 (2014)

Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Religion: Christian (61%), Islam (35%)

Geographical situation: It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south; and by the Indian Ocean to the east.

 

International treaty membership:

Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (September 14, 1999)

Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (December 30, 1983)

Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (June 16, 1963)

 

Legislation:        

The Trade and Service Marks Act, 1986 (1986)

The Trade and Service Marks Regulations (2000)

 

Government Institutions:

Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA)

Ministry of Industry and Trade

 

Type of trademark:

A trade or service mark is defined to mean any visible sign used or proposed to be used upon, in connection with or in relation to goods or services for the purpose of distinguishing, in the course of trade or business, the goods or services of a person from those of another. A visible sign is defined to mean any sign including a word, name, brand, device, heading, label, ticket, signature, letter, number, relief, stamp, seal etc. or any combination thereof.

The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks, series marks. The following non-traditional trademarks are theoretically registrable: 3-D marks, colours or a combination of colours.

 

Ground for refusal :

  1. trade or service marks the use of which would be contrary to law or morality or which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion as to the nature, geographical or other origin, manufacturing process, characteristics or suitability for their purpose, of the goods or services concerned;
  2. trade or service marks which consist solely of the shape, configura­tion or colour of the goods, or the containers thereof;
  3. trade or service marks which are identical with, or imitate the armo­rial bearings, flags and other emblems, initials, names, or abrevia­tions or initials of name or official sign or hallmark of any state or of any organisation created by an International Convention, unless authorized by the competent authority of that state or interna­tional organization;
  4. trade or service marks which constitute reproductions in whole or in part, imitations, translations or transcriptions, liable to create confusion oftrade or service marks and business or company names which are well known in the country and belong to third parties.

 

Application content:

One application covers a single class and can be made in English or Kiswahili.

The applications shall be made in writing to the Registrar as prescribed and shall include­

(a) the name and address of the applicant;

(b) the trade or business description of the applicant;

(c) a reproduction of the trade or service mark;

(d) the particular goods or services in respect of which registration of the trade or service mark is applied for listed under the applicable classes of the International Classification;

(e) if the applicant's address is outside Tanzania an address for service within Tanzania;

(f) a declaration that the applicant or his proposed registered user is using or proposes to use the trade or service mark within Tanzania.

 

 

Application process:

The application process includes a formal examination, an examination as to distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks. Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if distinctiveness has been acquired by use.

Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published once in the Patent, Trade and Service Marks Journal. Thereafter the registration certificate will be issued.

The approximate time frame for completing the registration process of a trademark is about 12-18 months.

Any person may, within the time limit as prescribed from the Opposition date of advertisement of an application, give notice to the Registrar of opposition to the registration, on the grounds that such application does not satisfy the requirements for registration; ground for refusal, or earlier trademark.

After examining the opposition, the registrar will decide to grant or not the application.

 

Refusal:

The Registrar shall send a copy of the notice of opposition to the applicant and, within the prescribed time after receipt thereof, the applicant shall send to the Registrar, in the prescribed manner, a counter-statement of the ground on which he relies for this application, and if he does not do so, he shall be deemed to have abandoned his application.

Failure to provide amendment to an application lacking some required elements or distinctiveness is also a ground for refusal.

A person may appeal from any decision made by the Registrar subject to the provisions of this Act and its Regulations and such appeal shall be made to the Court.

 

Rights of exploitation and related delay:

The registration for a trade or service mark shall be for a period of seven years from the date of registration but may be renewed from time to time, each time for seven years.

The registration of a trade or service right mark shall, if valid, give or be deemed to have given to the registered proprietor the exclusive right to the use of a trade or service mark in relation to any goods including sale importation and offer for sale or importation.

 

Transfer and conditions:

A pending trade mark or a registered trade mark shall be, and shall be deemed always to have been, assignable and transmissible in respect either of all the goods or services in respect of which it is applied for, registered, or was registered as the case may be, or of some, but not all, of those goods or services.

 

Certification:

After the publication of application the registration certificate will be issued.

 

Withdrawal and cancellation:

Non use of the mark for a period of three years shall be a ground for removal of the protection upon request.

 

Customs protection:

Inspector has the right to investigate on counterfeit activities, has the power to initiate legal proceeding, seize counterfeiting goods and destroy them.

 

 

Sources:

 

Wipo.int:

The Trade and Service Marks Act, 1986 (1986)

The Trade and Service Marks Regulations (2000)

https://www.mkono.com/pdf/Tanzania%27s%20IP%20changes%20are%20good%20for%20business.pdf

 

Vincent Lagier

 

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眾律國際法律/專利商標事務所

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