Important considerations of protection in Africa: did you think about Ethiopia?

20 09, 2018

The importance of securing enforceable IP rights in Africa significantly increases together with economic growth, this leads us today to address your interests in Ethiopia.

Indeed, Ethiopia presented this year a GDP increase of 8.3% in 2017 which ranks the country as the 2nd country of the continent in terms of developments after Ghana. In addition, the IMF forecasts 8.5% in 2018. This growth is the result of the infrastructure construction policy of the Ethiopian’s government. This growth, despite the decrease of the raw materials prices, is also explained by the rise in productivity, which is characterized by the consolidation of export industries.

Ethiopia remains mainly a market to conquer: While the Ethiopian government currently controls most major industries, the business climate in Ethiopia tends to improve with plans for liberalizing its economy and opening up to foreign investors. On this note, it is also important to raise awareness about the protection of intellectual property rights, including trademark rights in the country, which is fundamental for businesses.

As Ethiopia is not a member of the Madrid Agreement, the only way to register trademarks is the national way. However, the trademark registration procedure in Ethiopia is designed to facilitate applications. The foreign depositor is simply required to appoint a local legal representative and to submit an application form (containing full details of the applicant, a clear reproduction of the mark and a list of goods or services in respect of which the mark is to be used), a notarized power of attorney translated in English and a certified priority document, if priority is claimed.

The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks. The approximate time frame for completion of a registration in Ethiopia is relatively fast: about 5 to 7 months from the filing date. A trademark registration is valid for 7 years from the date of submission of the application for registration. The registration is renewable for consecutive periods of 7 years.

We cannot insist enough on the protection of one’s trademark rights. If trademark protection is not mandatory, it is imperative for proper management and effective prevention against counterfeiting and third-party ownership. Ethiopia is booming so consider protecting your trademarks right now!

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