As we have previously reported, a new bill for the protection of intellectual property was passed in the Republic of Djibouti on 27 April 2009. As indicated at that time, the Djibouti Office of Industrial and Commercial Property was yet to be established, and the Implementing Regulations were not yet in place, and we therefore predicted that it would be some time before the new law finally became effective. 

Importantly, inter alia, the new legislation provides for the filing of patent and design applications in Djibouti.

The new law was due to come into force six months after its publication in the Official Journal, and we understand that this publication occurred on 25 May 2011. The new law has therefore, in theory, been in effect from 25 November 2011. However, we understand that the IP office has yet to become fully operational, and it appears that the official fees are only now being set. Therefore, whilst it appears that it is now possible to file patent and design applications in Djibouti, we believe that we will only be able to lodge documents in support of such applications, which will then be held in abeyance until such time as the IP Office becomes fully operational and the relevant forms and fees have been set.

The new patent law also provides that maintenance fees are due in respect of granted patents, but again, we do not believe that these will be payable in practice until the official fees have been set.

As far as the official fees are concerned, we have just learnt that, at least insofar as the trade mark fees are concerned, the IP Office plans to set these fees at unduly high levels. This is despite ongoing lobbying by us and our local associate in an attempt to persuade the authorities to set the fees at levels that are commensurate with those payable in comparable jurisdictions worldwide. We have argued that the planned prohibitive fees do not fall into line with those adopted by other jurisdictions, and will dissuade applicants from registering their IP rights in Djibouti. This debate is still ongoing, and we hope that we will reach a satisfactory conclusion as a result of our arguments.

Further information will be posted on this website as soon as we have any news. In the meantime, we would be pleased to assist you in your IP matters in Djibouti to the extent that this is now possible.