South Sudan - Trade Mark Rights and Practices

Since the Republic of South Sudan gained full independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, there have been doubts about the possibility of trade mark registrations and their enforceability. This is due to the absence of a national law and the fact that Sudanese trade mark registrations no longer apply to South Sudan.

In practice, the Business Registry within the Ministry of Justice is accepting and processing applications for the registration of trade marks. In dealing with these, the South Sudan Registry has taken an executive decision to be guided, in part, by the Sudan Trade Marks Act of 1969 despite that statute’s official inapplicability to South Sudan.

There is still no actual trade mark law in South Sudan or any indication of its proposed date or content, therefore the system mentioned above has no statutory authority. However, trade mark owners may decide to proceed as above on the pragmatic basis that the process is being conducted by the Ministry of Justice and therefore it is likely the Government will recognise it, to the extent that:

  • A certificate issued under the present procedure will be cited against a later application under the same or a subsequent system, so the first to file has the advantage.
  • A formal Act, when passed, will ratify what has been done.
  • The present certificates may be recognised to some extent in any litigation that may be conducted before a new law is enacted.

A mandatory pre-filing search is required prior to filing a trade mark application and, in addition to the usual details of the applicant and goods/services to be claimed, the documentary requirements include:

  1. Power of Attorney, notarised
  2. Representation of the mark
  3. Picture/photograph showing how the mark is to be applied to the goods/services claimed
  4. Certificate of Incorporation or Extract from the Commercial Register, notarised.

The current Nice classification is being used and a separate application is required for each class of goods or services.

For public health reasons, a different requirement is imposed on the Registry when the trade mark to be registered is for beverages for human consumption. Instead of the picture in (3) above, an application comprising such liquids must be accompanied by a real sample (not just an image) of the bottle, can, etc., containing the product and displaying the trade mark. It should be noted that the container and contents are required, for testing, unless the contents are perishable. We will be happy to discuss ways and means of providing this material where applicable.

The resulting registration is stated to be for ten years from the filing date. It is hoped that proper law and procedures will be implemented within that term, under which the original filing date will be preserved.

There is currently no sign of corresponding arrangements for patent or other intellectual property rights.

For further information, please speak to your usual Spoor & Fisher contact or contact us at

Date published: 2014/09/12

Tags: trade mark news sudan trade mark registration