We are pleased to report that the newly-established Office Djiboutien de la Propriete Industrielle et Commerce (ODPIC) is now finally accepting applications for registration under the new Industrial Property Law. 

The law was enacted on 27 April 2009 and the implementing decree was published on 25 May 2011. In theory the law came into force on 25 November 2011 but in practice the application of the new law has been delayed pending the enactment of the decree establishing the official forms and fees. Whilst the official fees have still not been issued, ODPIC has nevertheless sent an official notice announcing that it is handling IP matters from12 June 2012.

Regrettably, in spite of intensive lobbying by IP professionals, it appears that the new fees will be set at a prohibitively high level. 

The new Industrial Property Law is TRIPs compliant and provides for the filing of applications for patents, integrated circuit diagrams, industrial designs and models, trade marks for products and services, commercial names, geographical indications and names of origin, as well as the control of unfair competition. 

Our local associate has assisted the authorities with drafting the law and is in close contact with ODPIC regarding the implementation of the new registration procedure. We are confident that our combined experience and expertise will ensure our clients are provided with a professional service and we would be pleased to assist with any enquiries.

By way of background information, some of the basic provisions regarding the registration of trade marks, designs and patents are outlined below: 

General Provisions
- Applicants who do not have a registered address, an industrial or commercial establishment, or are not domiciled in Djibouti, must appoint a local agent. 
- Priority may be claimed in accordance with the provisions of the Paris Convention.
- Licences and changes to the proprietor must be recorded to be enforceable against third parties

Trade Marks
- Trade mark applications may be filed for any number of goods and service classes in accordance with the international classification system. 
- Exclusive rights are acquired by registration. Substantive examination is limited and does not include prior rights. 
- There is no opposition procedure but a claim to prior rights and/or action for cancellation may be filed with the Court.
- Trade marks will be registered for a period of 10 years from the filing date, renewable for successive 10 year periods upon the payment of renewal fees. There is a period of grace of six months.

Industrial Designs
- A single industrial design application may contain up to 100 models or designs, as long as these are intended to be incorporated in objects grouped in the same class of the Locarno classification system.
- Industrial designs will be registered for an initial period of 5 years from the filing date, which term will be renewable for a further two consecutive periods of 5 years upon the payment of renewal fees. There is a grace period of six months.

- Patents may be granted with respect to both products and processes, as well as new applications or combinations of known means to arrive at new results. 
- Inventions must satisfy the criteria of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.
- Exclusions from patentability include, inter alia, methods of diagnosis, therapy and surgery for the treatment of persons or animals. 
- Patents will be granted for 20 years from the filing date. 
- Maintenance fees are payable for consecutive periods of 5 years from the date of filing. There is a grace period of six months.
- Certificates of Addition may be obtained for improvements or additions to the invention.
- Patents will be granted without guarantee as to the existence, the novelty or the merit of the inventions or as to the truth or exactitude of the specification.