Since its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has not enacted any intellectual property laws. For some time in 2014 it was possible to apply for trade mark protection under the Sudanese Trade Mark Law no. 8 of 1969, but the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (The Ministry) stopped accepting such applications after a short period. It has since not been possible to file trade mark applications for registration in this country.
Currently, the Intellectual Property Bill 2015 (the Bill) is before Parliament waiting to be passed into law. This Bill, once enacted, will govern the process of filing and registering trade marks in South Sudan.
In a further new development following the recent possibility to publish cautionary notices (see our report on this here), it has been confirmed by The Ministry that it is now possible for trade mark owners to reserve their trade marks in South Sudan. Once the Bill is passed into law, it will be possible to apply for the registration of trade marks.
A reservation will ensure that once the Bill is passed into law, no identical or similar mark can be registered in the name of a different proprietor. It will, however, still be necessary for trade mark applicants to file a fresh trade mark applications in line with the requirements of the new law once enacted.
While it is difficult to predict when the Bill will be passed into law, the reservation of trade marks is a welcomed development in South Sudan. We would encourage trade mark owners to make use of this process to obtain some form of protection while waiting for the law to come into force. Should you have queries concerning the reservation process and costs, please contact our team.