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.

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



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)



The Zanzibar Industrial Property Act, 2008 (Act No. 4 of 2008) (2008)


Government Institutions:

Zanzibar Business and Property Registration Agency (BPRA)


Type of trademark:

trade or service mark is defined to mean any sign capable of being represented graphically and of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. A mark may consist of words, designs, letters, slogans, colours or a combination of colours, numerals, the shape of goods or their packaging, holograms, sounds or scents. The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks, geographical indications, a series of marks.


Ground for refusal :

A mark cannot be registered if :

  • It has no distinctiveness
  • its contrary to public order or morality
  • it’s likely mislead the public or trade circle
  • it is identical or similar to symbol of states or organization
  • it is identical to a well-known mark in Zanzibar.
  • It is identical or not distinctive to an earlier mark in Zanzibar
  • It has been made in bad faith


Application content:

A separate application has to be filed for each class. One application covers a single class.

The application for registration for a mark shall be: filed to the Registrar and shall contain a request, a reproduction of the mark and a Iist of the goods or services for which registration of the mark is requested, listed under the applicable class or classes of the International Classification. it shall be subject to the payment of the prescribed application fee.


Application process:

The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks.

The opposition period is 2 months from the publication date of the application.

Any opposition shall be notice to the applicant, whom shall give a counter statement, if it fails to do so, the application shall be deemed abandoned.

Then, if the opposition is ruled in favour of the applicant, the trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published once in the Official Journal. Thereafter the registration certificate will be issued.



The application shall be rejected if there is a lack of the required elements for the application, if the mark is subject to ground for refusal, those motivations can be raised by the Registrar or upon opposition.


Rights of exploitation and related delay:

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.

The owner of the mark shall also have the exclusive right to initiate legal proceeding against any third parties infringing his right.

The minister have the right to declare the rights exhausted and to import from another country products that are not available in Zanzibar, if the quality present in the country is too low to meet the local demand, if the price are too high for the Zanzibar market, or any public interest.

The protection is valid for a period of ten years; the renewal can be done for seven years, and a six months grace period after the expiry of the protection, is allowed for renewal.


Transfer and conditions:

If a trademark is subject to a licensing contract, the licensee shall provide for effective control by the licensor of the quality of the goods or service, otherwise the license agreement shall not be valid.

The owner of a registered mark shall have the right to assign it without the transfer of the business to which the mark belong.



After the publication, the registration certificate will be issued.


Withdrawal and cancellation:

The applicant may at any time withdraw his application.

The cancellation of the mark can be done upon opposition by any interested persons, on the grounds of bad faith, subject to ground for refusal, or for non use of the mark for a consecutive period of three years.


Customs protection:

On request of right owner, the customs officials are authorized to suspend the clearance of goods suspected to be counterfeit if there is a prima facie evidence. Court has also the power to issue order for destruction of the goods plus penal measure like fines or imprisonment.




The Zanzibar Industrial Property Act, 2008 (Act No. 4 of 2008) (2008)




Vincent Lagier


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