On 23 November the Angolan Ministry of Industry held a conference for public presentation of the Draft Industrial Property Law. The main objectives of the event were to present the Draft Law of Industrial Property to society, as well as to raise awareness as to the importance of industrial property in all economic activities.
The current Industrial Property Law, approved by Law no. 3/92, of February 28, 1992 clearly needed to be modernized in order to achieve better protection of business, convergence with international standards and more efficiency in the administration of IP rights. It is expected that the new law is enacted by the Angolan National Parliament within the following months.
The draft law provides for a new and very useful section of general provisions which were not foreseen in the current law. For example several rules for opposition proceedings are applicable to patents, utility models, designs and trademarks namely:
- the possibility of filing oppositions within 60 days after the publication of the application;
- the applicant’s right to submit a reply within 60 days after notification;
- the possibility of extending the deadlines of opposition and reply for 30 days.
The draft law clarifies the protectable inventions and maintains the exclusion of patent protection for “foodstuffs, chemical-pharmaceutical and medicines intended for man or animals”, as such, allowing however patents for their “devices or manufacturing processes”.
The proposed draft provides for formal and substantive examination of national patent applications and for a preliminary search report.
The national phase of PCT applications and payment of renewal fees is now foreseen contrary to the 1992 IP law.
The proposed duration of a patent is now 20 years counted from the application date instead of the 15 years duration provided in the current law.
The proposed law is quite similar to the Portuguese and European trademark law and brings a number of innovative legal features for Angola, namely:
- a wider trademark definition now extending to 3D marks (shapes of products or packaging) and sound marks;
- possibility to protect generic signs used in trade with secondary meaning;
- declarations of consent;
- trademarks with reputation in Angola or the world as ground of refusal of registration of trademarks covering dissimilar goods or services;
- possibility of administrative revocation for non-use during 5 consecutive years without due cause;
- possibility of registration of collective trademarks (association and certification marks);
- exhaustion of trademark rights.
Furthermore the draft law proposes a full revision and extensive amendments of the rules regarding sanctions for infringements of industrial property rights and unfair competition acts.
We will report further legislative developments.