Trademarks Eligible for Registration in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, a trademark registration is a crucial step in protecting a company’s intellectual property rights. A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase that is used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of another. In order to be eligible for registration, a trademark must be capable of clearly distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another.

This means that the trademark must be unique and not already in use by another party in a way that would cause confusion among consumers.

When applying for trademark registration in Ethiopia, it is important to consider the visual presentation of the trademark. A trademark may be registered in black-and-white or color and if it is registered in black-and-white, it will be protected in all color combinations. On the other hand, if it is registered in color, it will only be protected in the specific color combination in which it is registered. This means that if a trademark is registered in a specific color, someone else can use that trademark in a different color without infringing on the rights of the trademark owner.

It’s also worth noting that a trademark registration certificate in Ethiopia is granted for a specific period of time, typically 10 years, after which it must be renewed. Renewal is important because it allows the trademark owner to continue to use the trademark in Ethiopia and maintain the exclusive rights to it. If the trademark registration is not renewed, it will expire and the trademark will be available for use by others.

A trademark eligible for registration may also include elements that are not subject to protection, such as descriptive terms or commonly used words or phrases, as long as they do not decrease the distinctive character of the trademark or infringe on the rights of other persons. In other words, if a trademark includes elements that are not protected, it should not weaken the distinctiveness of the trademark and should not conflict with the rights of other parties.

For example, a trademark that includes a commonly used word, such as “fresh” in connection with a line of fresh produce, may be eligible for registration because it helps to distinguish the goods from those of other sellers, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of other parties. However, a trademark that includes a descriptive term, such as “best” in connection with a line of goods, would likely not be eligible for registration because it does not provide a clear distinction between the goods or services and those of other sellers.

In Ethiopia, the process of trademark registration begins with filing an application with the appropriate government agency, such as the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office. The application must include a clear representation of the trademark and a list of the goods or services for which the trademark will be used. Once the application is filed, it will be reviewed by the government agency to ensure that it meets the eligibility requirements and does not conflict with any existing trademarks.

If the application is approved, the trademark registration certificate will be issued. This serves as evidence of the owner’s exclusive right to use the trademark and provides legal recourse against any third party that uses the trademark without permission. The registration certificate is also binding on third parties, meaning that once it is granted, third parties are prohibited from using the trademark without the permission of the trademark owner.

It’s also worth noting that the registration of a trademark in Ethiopia creates a presumption of validity, meaning that the trademark is assumed to be valid and legally protected. This makes it more difficult for other parties to register similar or identical trademarks in Ethiopia and increases the chances of success for the trademark owner in any legal action against infringement.

In conclusion, the grant of a trademark registration certificate in Ethiopia is an important step in protecting a company’s intellectual property rights. It serves as evidence of the owner’s exclusive right.