The Sudanese Trademark Office has announced an important jurisdictional change – the Appeal Committee of the Trademark Office has been dissolved and, in future, appeals against decisions of the registrar will go to the courts. A registrar's decision might, for example, be a refusal based on issues surrounding non-distinctiveness, or a refusal based on prior rights (in formal opposition proceedings).
This means that appeals from registry refusals will now become more formal and expensive, with lawyers required. This change will apply retrospectively to applications currently on appeal to the Trademark Office, and also in respect of international registrations designating Sudan.
Although this is regarded as a change, what is really happening is that the authorities have simply taken a decision to enforce Article 16(2) of the Sudanese IP Law, 8 of 1969. This article states that the registrar may refuse an application, accept it absolutely or subject to conditions or limitations, and that any decision by him will be subject to "appeal to the Court."
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