PART 2: YOU CAN NOW PROTECT YOUR TRADE MARK IN SOMALIA
In our previous newsflash, we informed you that you can now register a trade mark in Somalia. We highlighted the operational legal framework, the process of conducting a search and registering a trade mark in Somalia.
We now provide you with further information on the Somalia process below:
The Trade Marks registry is a separate unit that is part of, and within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which administers the search and registration process of Trade Marks.
Registry Operations (COVID-19)
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the designated offices at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where the Trade Marks registry is hosted, were closed temporarily.
Original Documentation (COVID-19)
Owing to the logistical interruptions caused by the COVID-19, the Somalia Trade Marks Office is accepting scanned documentation provided that they are clearly scanned and remain visible or readable.
Payment of Official Fees
Official fees payable for the registration process are directly paid to local accounts of the Ministry of Finance of the Federal Government of Somalia once the registry gives the go ahead and all required documents have been accepted.
In our previous newsflash, we stated that the process may take about a week. However, this process now takes about 3 weeks to a month but may extend up to two months, if any security issues arise that would force the Ministry to temporarily halt operations.
Scope of Protection
Registering a trade mark in Somalia provides the proprietor with the exclusive rights to use the trademark nationwide, to issue a public notice about the trademark, legal protection from other persons in using the registered trademark and entitlement to pursue legal action in court for infringement.
There is no anti-counterfeiting law in Somalia, but Counterfeiting in itself is a crime under Somalia’s penal code.
Enforcement by Courts
The Courts in Somalia enforce trademark rights, as long as the trademark is registered or was registered in Somalia. We understand that the courts are active and functioning, and therefore proprietors of registered trademarks may pursue legal action before Somalia Courts.
Patent and Copyright Protection
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is currently conducting a number of reforms on Intellectual Property Laws. Currently, the Ministry is fast-tracking the completion of Trademark and copy right law amendments, and planning to complete the Designs and Patents Law before the end of 2020.
We will keep you updated on the developments.