Africa: New Industrial Property Code in Mozambique
The Council of Ministers of Mozambique approved a new Mozambique Industrial Property Code on December 31 2015, which will come into force on March 31 2016, replacing the 2006 Industrial Property Code.
Differences between the 2006 IP Code and the new IP Code relate mainly to revised time periods, re-wording and clarification of certain sections, administrative and format revisions. A limited number of substantive legal changes have been made. Some of these changes are that the deadline within which to submit outstanding documents (such as powers of attorney) or to provide information to the Industrial Property Institute (IPI) upon request, has changed to 30 days – extended from 15 days. Furthermore, the deadline for appealing against the Director General's decision has been brought forward by 30 days.
An interesting development is that the new IP Code now provides for the provisional refusal of a patent, utility model or industrial design application by the Director General. In addition, the new IP Code makes provision for any person who feels that the grant of an industrial design or utility model would be detrimental to him is entitled to oppose the application.
With regard to trade marks, the new IP Code expands the comparison of marks upon examination to "related" or similar goods and services. Opposition deadlines have been brought forward by 30 days. Thus, oppositions must be lodged within 30 days of advertisement and a further extension for another 60 days is provided for.
An important development is that it is no longer essential to show that the declaration of intent to use a mark (DIU) should relate to all goods or services included in the registration. Furthermore, DIUs must now be lodged every five years, calculated from the original application date of the International Registration.
Finally, the IPI Bulletin will now be published monthly, instead of bi-monthly which will provide interested parties with a better opportunity to consider advertised marks for opposition purposes.
Marco van der Merwe
Spoor & Fisher
Building No. 13
Highgrove Office Park
Republic of South Africa