A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It’s how customers recognize you in the marketplace and distinguish you from your competitors. Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) a semi-autonomous statutory body; is responsible for Trademark registration in Uganda. Trademark registration in Uganda are categorized in accordance with the International Classification of Goods and Services as provided for under the NICE protocol.
URSB trademark registration
URSB is responsible for Intellectual Property Registration in Uganda including registration of Patents, Utility models, Industrial designs, Trademarks, Copyright and Neighboring Rights.
Trademarks are protected through registration or use. Proper protection gives the Trademark owner the exclusive rights to prevent others from marketing the same or similar type of product or service under the same confusingly similar mark.
Trademarks in Uganda should not consist of words or symbols that;
- Are descriptive of the product
- Have direct reference to the character or quality of goods
- Are likely to deceive or confuse
- Are contrary to law and morality
- Resemble national regional or international flags, coat of arms and emblems
Procedure for registering a Trademark in Uganda
- Trademark Search in Uganda
This is a preliminary search conducted to ensure a trademark is registrable in Uganda. Upon payment of a prescribed fee, request for a search to ascertain whether the trademark exists in the registerThis search will help an applicant know their chance of success upon application and if their desired trademark already exists in the market.
- Filling of Trademark
After carrying out a trademark search, the applicant files the trademark application upon payment of application fees. An application is officially submitted to the Registrar by the proprietor of the trademark. This application should contain a representation of the mark, details of the applicant and in the case of a foreign applicant; a power of attorney.
The application is examined to determine if it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services among other considerations.
- Publication of Application
If the application is granted, it will be advertised in the Uganda Gazette for 60 days to allow any interested parties raise objections.
- Certificate of Registration
If there is no opposition after the expiration of 60 days of the advertisement in the gazette, the Registrar shall upon payment of the prescribed fee by the applicant enter the trademark in the register and issue a certificate of Registration.
How much does Trademark Registration cost in Uganda?
The fees (2) for the whole process of trademark registration are categorized according to trademark search, application and final registration. The breakdown is as follows;
|Sub category||Amount(Local Applicant) UGX||Amount (Foreign Applicant) USD|
|Search Report Fees||25,000||65|
Significance of trademark registration in Uganda
Registration of a trademark is direct evidence of exclusive ownership in Uganda and helps keep off potential infringers who would have attempted to ride on the goodwill of your mark. It enables you to protect your rights more easily from infringement by third parties, while also enabling you to recover in such event. Trademark registration gives you the power to permit use by others.
Intellectual Property is a general term used to refer to intangible assets an entity or individual possesses and can shield from external use without the owners’ consent. This simply means the owner of such property has exclusive rights over who is permitted to use their inventions, creations or methods. Use is usually allowed after a payment of royalties or special fees as agreed between parties involved. Trademark is a form of Intellectual property however, there are a few others.
Intellectual property in Uganda
The other forms of intellectual property that can be registered in Uganda include
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention which is either a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. A patent gives an inventor the right to exclusively use their invention for a limited period of time, generally 20 years. An invention must be new, inventive and industrially applicable to be granted a patent. Patent protection means an invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner’s consent.
- Utility Models
A Utility Model is an exclusive right granted to a right holder for a limited period of ti me. It is also referred to as a petty patent or innovation patent and allows the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention without the right owner’s authorisation. The requirements for granting a Utility Model are similar to those of a Patent applicant only that for the former, they are less stringent than for Patents and the inventive nature of the application is lower or non existent altogether.
- Industrial Designs
An Industrial Design is defined as the aesthetic aspect of a useful product. In other words; it refers to the visual appeal of a product to consumers. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the product’s shape or two-dimensional features, such as patterns or lines.
Appointing a Representative to register trademark in Uganda
A request to the URSB to register a trademark or other intellectual property can be done online here. Agents are allowed to apply for trademarks on behalf of owners. The pre-requisite for appointing a representative is that the agent must be an Advocate of the High Court. All foreigners are required by URSB to use an agent.
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