Angola: trade marks in Africa – at a glance

Trade mark activity is growing rapidly in Africa, both as regards protection and enforcement. Yet there is still a great deal of uncertainty. This is the next in our series of country-specific updates. Here we focus on Angola.

Why?

Angola is an important country - this former Portuguese colony is the seventh largest country in Africa, and it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The economy is, however, unbalanced, being extremely reliant on oil and diamonds - food needs to be imported because of the degradation of agricultural land during the civil war. Trade marks are governed by the Industrial Property Law, No.3/92.

Who?

Anyone who adopts a mark to distinguish their products can file a trade mark application.

What?

Ordinary trade marks can be protected, as well as collective marks. A mark can be any distinguishing sign and the following examples are specifically listed: patronymic, geographical, arbitrary and fanciful names; monograms; emblems; figures; ciphers, labels; colour combinations; designs; photos and seals. The following may be refused: false indications regarding origin or provenance; business names that do not belong to the applicant; marks that are confusingly similar to earlier marks registered for similar goods; individual names or likenesses if there is no consent. The rights enjoyed by the trade mark owner are not specified. There are, however, criminal offences regarding the unauthorised use of the mark, with punishment by way of fines.

How?

Priority can be claimed and the International Classification of Goods and Services applies. Multi-class filing is not available. A Power of Attorney (legalised) is required, as is a Certificate of Incorporation or Extract from the Commercial Register with a Portuguese translation (notarised).

When?

A registration lasts for 10 years from the filing date (or priority date if applicable), and it can be renewed indefinitely for 10-year periods. The use requirement is not very clear - the law says that a registration will lapse ‘where the mark has not been used in consecutive years, save in a duly proven case of force majeure.’

Anything else?

There are specific provisions regarding the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) and unfair competition.

Important update: Trade mark owners must re-submit documents for all pending applications, renewals or recordals against trade marks numbered 5,001 - 20,757 in Angola before the deadline of 26 December 2018. Read more here.

Date published: 17 January 2018
Author: Spoor & Fisher

Tags: Angola trade marks