Defensive trade marks in Africa


In Africa, the following countries have provisions for the registration of defensive trade marks:

Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Defensive registrations offer clear and certain rights to well-known marks in connection with goods and services that the trade mark owner does not sell but where confusion may arise should a third party use that mark in connection with such goods and services.

In Africa, defensive trade mark registrations can be very useful in preventing third parties from attempting to register well-known marks for goods and services in connection with which the proprietor has no current intention of using the mark. It follows that there is no requirement that the proprietor use the mark in connection with the goods and services for which defensive registration is secured.

Infringement proceedings brought on the basis of a defensive trade mark registration should also be cheaper and more effective than any alternative including passing off proceedings.

Compiled by
Wayne Meiring

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

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