How the military coup in Sudan affects trademark rights

Since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, Sudan has been ruled by an alliance between military and civilian groups. However, on 25 October 2021, the military took control. dissolving the transitional government and detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok – although he returned to his residence the next day, according to a source within the Sudanese prime minister’s office and a military source.

The international community has not reacted favourably, condemning the coup, particularly United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and President Biden, who have stated that the move was a betrayal of the Sudanese people.

At the time of writing, despite the military coup, government services related to intellectual property appear unaffected and it is still possible to register trademarks, patents and designs.

Sudan has been a member of the Madrid Agreement since 1984, the Madrid Protocol since 2010 and the Paris Convention since 1984. Rights holders can file goods and service trademarks, as well as obtain protection for well-known marks. Further, the Nice Classification system still applies and the single class system is in place.

To file a trademark in Sudan, the applicant must provide:

  • a notarised power of attorney;
  • a certificate of incorporation legalised up to a Sudanese consulate;
  • contact information (ie, name and address);
  • a sample of the mark (not required for word marks);
  • a list of goods and/or services; and
  • a certified copy of the priority document, with verified English or Arabic translation (if priority is claimed).

The filing procedure is as follows:

  • filing of the request before the Intellectual Property Office and issuance of application filing receipt with application filing number;
  • formal and substantial exam conducted by the office;
  • issuance of report of acceptance by the office;
  • publication of the application in the IP Bulletin;
  • a six-month period for the filing of oppositions (eight months for non-residents) by third parties who considered themselves to be adversely affected with the registration of the trademark; and
  • issuance of a registration certificate.

Although not mandatory, availability searches are recommended, and the time frame to completion is seven to 12 business days.

A smooth registration may take approximately two to three years to complete. The mark will be valid for 10 years from the filing date and may be consecutively renewed for equal periods of time.

It remains to be seen what, if any, impact the recent military action has on such systems.


This is a co-published article, which was originally published in the World Trademark Review (WTR).

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