We write to report that the Ugandan Industrial Property Act of 2014 has finally come into force.

 

Inter alia, the law provides for the following:

 

Patents and Utility Models

 

-      PCT international and national phase applications will be recognised.

-      Some significant rules regarding biotechnological inventions are introduced, including the exclusion from patentability of natural substances, whether purified, synthesized or otherwise isolated from nature.

-      According to the TRIPs regulations, since Uganda is a lesser-developed country, pharmaceutical products and test data are excluded from patent protection until 2033.

-      Furthermore, the description of a patent should contain a clear identification of the origin of any genetic or biological resources that were collected in Uganda as well as any traditional knowledge associated with those resources, if relevant.

-      A patent will be valid for 20 years from the filing date and extensions to this term are no longer possible.

-      Additionally, utility model (petty patent) protection is available for minor inventions that are novel and have industrial applicability.  A patent application can be converted into a utility model application at any time before its grant or refusal, and vice versa. Utility models are valid for 10 years from the date of grant.

 

Industrial Designs

-      National design protection is now available, and the extension of UK registered designs to Uganda is no longer possible, despite existing rights being preserved.  A design application may relate to two or more designs belonging to the same class under the international classification, or to a set or composition of articles. Registered designs are valid for an initial term of 5 years, which term is extendible by two further 5-year terms.