12 February 2024
The Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia, has recently taken a noteworthy stride in the area of intellectual property law.
The new Trade Marks Act, No. 11 of 2023 (the Act), was officially enacted by the Parliament of Zambia on 26 December 2023 and will come into operation on a date appointed by the Minister by statutory instrument. According to information received, this should occur during the course of this year.
The most significant changes brought about by the passing of this new Act include the following:
- Section 3(1) of the Act, relating to the application and administration of the Act, provides that the Act will be applicable to registered trade marks, geographical indications and well-known trade marks. Previously, the Trade Marks Act (Chapter 401 of 1958) (the repealed Act) did not recognise geographical indications and well-known trade marks.
- Sections 4(3) and 10 of the Act provide that multi-class applications may be filed (where currently a separate application is required per class).
- Perhaps the most long-awaited and significant development is that Section 9 of the Act allows for a trade mark to be classified for either goods or services, in accordance with international standards. Previously, the repealed Act did not provide for the registration of service marks and parties could only claim protection in relation to goods associated with a service. By virtue of this change, the Act further provides the steps a trade mark proprietor will be required to take to amend the Register for adaptation of the trade mark classification (reclassification) in Section 136.
- Sections 43 and 44 amend the initial validity and renewal terms to 10 years each from 7 and 14 years respectively in terms of the repealed Act.
- Section 154 of the Act also provides for the making of regulations to give effect to the Madrid Protocol (Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks) at a domestic level.
These changes are sure to align Zambian trade mark law with the requirements of international agreements, such as The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, to which Zambia is a signatory. We can look forward to these provisions being brought into effect as the Act is gradually implemented.
Overall, the passing of this new Act is a welcomed development that will positively impact the trade mark rights of brand owners in Zambia. The Zambian government’s efforts to advance legislation will not only encourage the protection of a brand owners’ creative works in their industry, but also promote ingenuity and innovation.
Published by World Trademark Review.