UGANDA: New Intellectual Property Law Comes into Effect

The Ugandan Industrial Property Act of 2014 is now in force.

The main features are summarised below:

a) Patents and Utility Models

Finally, PCT international and national phase applications will be recognised.

Apart from this, some major rules regarding biotechnological inventions are introduced, namely, some patent exclusions were provide, such as, natural substances, whether purified, synthetized or otherwise isolated from nature.

According to the Trips regulations, since Uganda is a least-developed country pharmaceutical products and test data are excluded from patent protection until 2033.

Furthermore, the description of the patent should contain a clear identification of the origin of any genetic or biological resources that were collected in Uganda as well as any traditional knowledge associated with those resources, if it is the case.

A patent will be valid for 20 years from the filing date and time-extensions are no longer possible.

Additionally, utility model (petty patent) protection is available for minor inventions that are novel and have industrial applicability. A patent application can be converted into a utility model application at any time before grant or refusal, and vice versa. Utility models are valid for 10 years from the date of grant.

b) Industrial Designs

National design protection is now available, UK registered designs extensions to Uganda are no longer applicable, despite existing rights are preserved.

The design application may relate to two or more designs belonging to the same class under the international classification, or to the same set or composition of articles and it will be valid for 5 years, and two time extensions are possible.

We will update and expand the information provided in a larger scale soon.

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