Changes to Zanzibar’s Intellectual Property Practice

The first, and probably the most significate change, is that Zanzibar’s Business and Property Registration Agency (BPRA) has introduced the Online Registration System (ORS) that has already been put in place in Tanzania (Tanganyika) with very promising results.

The ORS intends to modernize the registration process, making it easier and faster when compared to the manual filing. It is important to note that the ORS is still in a very initial phase and at the moment services are limited to Business Entities, Secured Transactions on Movable Property and Information Services.

In the future we expect that electronic filing will be enabled at Zanzibar’s IPO through the ORS however there are no set deadlines, at the moment, to enable such a system.

Another amendment concerns Authorized Agents. Any authorization should be placed to an individual person, within a law firm, that is authorized to practice law in Zanzibar. It is relevant to note that powers of attorney must be prescribed in the name of said individual agent.

Furthermore, the new practice has determined that filing numbers are allocated from two to three working days after filing the application whether before this allocation was made at the moment of filing, namely when the filing receipt was issued. However it is important to alert our clients for the existing backlog at the IPO, which might delay this period of 2/3 working days for a couple of weeks.

The last, but not least, significant amendment concerns the publication of Intellectual Property assets. Previously to this alteration the same were published in the official government’s gazette. Now, BPRA has made arrangements to start publishing its own trademark’s Journal. The first issue was published in the first day of March 2020 under number BPRA/I.J/No.01. The publication of this trademark journal marks a very hopeful step toward the modernization of the Intellectual Property Filing System in Zanzibar.

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