On 15 May 2020, the Government of Mozambique acceded to the Banjul Protocol on Marks. The Protocol was adopted by the ARIPO Administrative Council at Banjul, The Gambia on 19 November 1993 and came into effect on 6 March 1997. The Protocol was established in accordance with the objectives of ARIPO, which amongst other things, are to create organs to facilitate the co-ordination, harmonization and development of intellectual property activities in ARIPO member states.

The Protocol presents a centralized filing system that enables ARIPO, as the administrative authority, to register and administer registered trade marks on behalf of member states that are party to the Protocol. Applications for the registration and administration of marks are filed directly in the ARIPO office or with the Industrial Property Office of a contracting state. This provides applicants with ease of securing trade mark rights regionally through the filing of a single application, which in turn is transmitted by ARIPO to the designated states. At present, Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, are contracting parties to the Protocol.

The accession of the Protocol by Mozambique is pursuant to a resolution passed by the Council of Ministers of Mozambique on 19 September 2017. In accordance with Section 11:4 of the Protocol, however, Mozambique will only become bound to the Protocol 3 months after depositing instruments of accession, that is, on 15 August 2020. Thereafter, Mozambique may be designated by trade mark owners in an ARIPO trade mark application, bringing the total number of states eligible for designation to 11. The effect of this is that trade mark applicants will be able to register their trade marks in Mozambique through the ARIPO office. It is imperative to note that Mozambique already had legislative framework contained in its Intellectual Property Code (Decree Nr. 47/2015 of 31 December 2015) that allows for the domestication and immediate implementation of the Protocol.

Harare, 24 July 2020

Jabulani Kwaramba
Intellectual Property Department