Be careful of having a false sense of security on “Well Known” trade mark protection in Ethiopia
Intellectual Property Professionals working on Trademark Protection in Ethiopia used to believe that “well known” trademarks will have protection irrespective of the fact that they are not registered in the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office. But this is far from the reality. Having a deep look at the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Proclamation will illustrate this.
Article 23 of The Intellectual Property Proclamation no 501/2006 specifically stipulates that “well known” trademarks will get protection when Ethiopia becomes a signatory party to the international convention.
Despite that most lawyers in Ethiopia and Intellectual property agents working on trademark registration in Ethiopia used to have an unreal sense of security due to the fact of being ““well known” Trade Mark.
One should know the fact that Ethiopia has not yet signed the Paris Convention accordingly ““well known” trademarks will not be protected unless they are registered just like any other trademark that needs to obtain trademark protection in Ethiopia. This very fact is also approved by the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office. According to the currently applicable law and its following practice of trademark protection in Ethiopia, anyone can get a “well known” trademark registered under its name, unless it is registered just like any other mark. In fact this person will have a better right than the real owner of the mark which has created and added value to it via numerous years of good will.
Consequences of Not Registering
If a company with a “well known” trademark fails to go through the proper procedures and register its mark in Ethiopia, the trademark, however known it may be, will not get any Protection in Ethiopia.
This means any company or person who wishes to register this mark under its name will not be prohibited from doing so. If that happens not only will original owner not be able to press any charges against the infringers but, the original owner will also loss its own right with respect to this very Trade Mark. This is because the infringers will be the one who is going to be legally presumed owner since it has gone through all the necessary procedures to register the trademark.
So, we strongly recommend all “Well Known” trademark owners to register their trade marks in Ethiopia in order to guarantee protection. This is a preventive method that would help trade mark owners from being victims of infringements by any market that is trying to break into African, especially Ethiopian Market, under the unfair disadvantage of long developed trademark.
If you have an additional question, comment or need practical support on trademark protection in Ethiopia Contact us.
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Note: This guide provides vital information on Ethiopian Intellectual Property law and practice especially Trademark Protection in Ethiopia. Any pertinent information about Trademark in Ethiopia, Patent in Ethiopia, can be available from any Ethiopian IP Lawyer, Ethiopian Trademark Lawyer, Ethiopian lawyer or Ethiopian Attorney.