Uganda – New Intellectual Property Law in Force

Intellectual property practitioners should be aware that the Ugandan Industrial Property Act of 2014 is now in force, despite the fact that no Regulations have been passed. Please note that the new law does not concern trade marks. 

The stand-out features are summarised below.


PCT international and national phase applications are recognised.  

There are a number of patent exclusions. Amongst the more interesting:

  • natural substances, whether purified, synthetised or otherwise isolated from nature, but not the processes of isolating those natural substances from their original environment 
  • the human body and all its elements, in whole or in part  
  • pharmaceutical products and test data - these are excluded from patent protection until 2033, or such further period as may be granted to Uganda or least-developed countries by the Council responsible for administering the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organization (WTO)

The description must contain a clear identification of the origin of any genetic or biological resources that were collected in Uganda and were directly or indirectly used in the making of the claimed invention, as well as any traditional knowledge associated or not with those resources that was directly or indirectly used in the making of the claimed invention without the prior informed consent of its individual or collective creators.

The duration is 20 years from the filing date. Extensions of the term are no longer possible.

Utility Models

Utility model protection is available for minor inventions that are novel and have industrial applicability.

A patent application can be converted into a utility model application at any time before grant or refusal, and vice versa.

The duration is 10 years from the date of grant.

Industrial Designs

National design protection is now available, and the system whereby UK registered designs automatically extended to Uganda has fallen away (existing rights are however preserved).

An industrial design means that aspect of a useful article that is ornamental or aesthetic, and that consists of features such as the shape or surface of the article, or patterns, lines or colours.

The design application may relate to two or more designs belonging to the same class under the international classification, or to the same set or composition of articles.

The duration is five years. Two extensions of five years each are possible.


There is provision for technovations.

A technovation is defined as a solution to a specific problem in the field of technology that is proposed by an employee of an enterprise in Uganda for use by that enterprise, and which relates to the activities of the enterprise but which, on the date of the proposal, has not been used or actively considered for use by that enterprise.

For further information, please contact us at

Date published: 2016/04/01
Author: Spoor & Fisher

Tags: patents utility models industrial designs uganda