Doing business in Tanzania: trade and service marks registration
Market Insight 17 February 2022 17 February 2022
In this month’s briefing, we look at how entities engaged in doing business in mainland Tanzania can protect their trade and service marks (Trademarks).
Trademark registration is governed by the Trade and Service Marks Act of 1986 and Trade and Service Marks Regulations of 2000, as amended. Trademark registration is done through the Business Registrations and Licensing Agency’s (BRELA) Online Registration System (ORS). It is important to take note of some of the information and documents required in an application for Trademark registration:
- A duly completed consolidated form.
- Name, occupation and address of the applicant.
- A power of attorney to appoint a Trademark agent (if required).
- An image of the proposed mark (except for word marks in ordinary type).
- A priority document (if applicable) with a verified English translation, if the proposed Trademark is in a language other than English.
- A specification of Nice Classification (NCL) description on the goods and services for which the Trademark is to be registered.
Further to paragraph “6” above, NCL is an international classification of goods and services established by the Nice Agreement of 1957 and applies to Trademark registration.
The application fee is TZS 65,000 (approximately USD 28) which includes TZS 50,000 (approximately USD 22) registration fee and TZS 15,000 (approximately USD 6) advertisement fee. Please note that fees may change over a specific period.
Once the required information is filed on ORS and accepted, BRELA will advertise it on the Trademark journal.
The publication of a Trademark registration application is intended for interested parties to raise any objections against the registration with reasonable grounds. Objections against Trademark registration applications should be presented to the Registrar within 60 days from the date of advertisement. If no objections are received during this period the applicant must complete the application by filing a prescribed form for registration of a mark (TM/SM 8) and pay TZS 60,000 (approximately USD 23) in order to obtain a certificate of registration. Once the certificate is issued, the application process is deemed to be complete and the registration remains valid for a period of 7 years.
Recently, BRELA emphasised the importance of Trademark registration and encouraged business owners to register the same to avoid duplication of use. Click here for more information about BRELA’s outreach.
Advantages of Trademark registration
A registered proprietor enjoys exclusive rights to use the registered Trademark. A person who is not a registered proprietor and uses a registered Trademark without permission, infringes the exclusive rights of a registered proprietor.
Right to civil claim
A person is entitled to institute proceedings for the prevention or recovery of damages over an infringement of a registered Trademark.
The Cybercrimes Act of 2015 (Cybercrimes Act) makes it a criminal offence for a person to use a computer system with the intention of violating intellectual property rights. The Cybercrimes Act defines intellectual property rights as the rights accrued or related to, among others, Trademarks. Therefore, a registered Trademark is protected under the Cybercrimes Act. The punishment for committing this criminal offence is:
- on a non-commercial basis – a fine of not less than TZS 5,000,000 (approximately USD 2,163) or imprisonment for a term of not less than 3 years or to both fine and imprisonment; and
- on a commercial basis – a fine of not less than TZS 20,000,000 (approximately USD 8,650) or imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years or to both fine and imprisonment. The court could also order the payment of compensation to the victim.
Trademark registration is not a union matter
In mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, separate Trademark laws and registration systems are in effect. Consequently, protection sought in one part of the union will not extend to the other part. To obtain Trademark protection throughout the union, registration must be effected in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.