Registration of trademarks in Somalia
Further to our previous Somalia trade mark update in 2020 wherein we discussed the fact that the Somali Trade Marks Office started accepting and examining trade mark applications although there is no publication procedure or opposition period in place at that time, it appears the these uncertainties are steadily being resolved.
Trade marks are now being advertised for opposition purposes on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s website for a period of 45 days. Although this is a significant development, it is not a quintessential one as the opposition procedure is yet to be stipulated and the marks are published without the filing numbers, filing date and specification. Nevertheless, the Ministry appears to be accepting oppositions filed by way of letter which sets out the opposition grounds, together with supporting evidence.
The new Trade Marks Act has not been published yet but is expected to contain transitional provisions to provide for the recognition of trade marks filed prior to the new Act coming into force.
Although the specifics and further details are yet to be settled, the present state of affairs warrants the filing of trade marks in Somalia, and we would recommend that our clients consider this route to avoid unscrupulous third parties doing so before them.
In the meantime, it is still possible to publish Cautionary Notices in Somalia for trade mark owners simply wishing to give notice of their trade mark rights to third parties without obtaining registration.
By Regardt van der Merwe, Attorney, Trademark Department, reviewed by Adré Pretorius, Trademark Attorney.