We understand that the new Industrial Property Act 2008 was passed by the parliament in Zanzibar on 31 March 2008. The new law was supposed to have become operational as of 13 September 2008 but, due to delays in the publication of the Commencement Notice in the Gazette and the lack of implementing Regulations and Fees, the effective date of the new law is not yet known.

Some points of particular significance are as follows: -

Trade Marks
* The new law allows registration in respect of trade marks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks and trade names.
* The initial validity term for trade marks will be reduced from 14 years to 10 years, calculated from the filing date of the application for registration. Subsequent renewals will be for consecutive periods of 7 years.
* A six month grace period for late payment of renewal fees is available upon payment of additional fees.
* There is no facility for restoration of lapsed trade marks.
* A claim to the priority of one or more earlier applications may be made under the Paris Convention.
* Non-use of a mark for a continuous period of 3 years from registration will render it open to an action for cancellation by third parties.

* An invention must now satisfy the requirements of absolute novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, and it must not relate to 'excluded' subject matter. 
* A requirement of absolute novelty of inventions is specified in the new law. Thus, the new law does not provide for the filing of applications for reregistration of granted UK or European(UK) patents in Zanzibar. The new Act does not include transitional provisions setting a period of 12 months during which proprietors of UK or European(UK) patents may still apply for the reregistration of their patents, as have been provided in analogous new laws of this kind elsewhere in the world. We are querying this omission, and we will advise further once we have established whether there is any window within which applicants may still reregister their granted patents in Zanzibar once the new law comes into force. 
* A claim to the priority of one or more earlier applications may be made under the Paris Convention.
* The new law specifies that a patent will be granted for a term of 20 years from the filing date. 
* Annuities will be payable annually, commencing on the first anniversary of the filing date of a patent application. A grace period of six months is provided for the late payment of annuities, along with a surcharge. Whilst it appears that annuities will be payable annually in respect of both UK-based reregistration patents and local independent patents, it is not yet clear whether back annuities will be payable in respect of existing cases, or indeed how existing cases will be treated under these new provisions. We are still awaiting clarification in this regard. 

Utility Models
* The revised Act provides for the grant of utility model certificates in Zanzibar.

* Industrial designs may be registered in Zanzibar if they are new and are not contrary to public order or morality.
* Registered designs will have a term of 5 years from the filing date, renewable for two further consecutive periods of five years. A three month grace period is provided for the late payment of renewal fees, along with a surcharge.

We understand that a similar Act has been drafted for Tanganyika but has not yet been passed. There are currently no plans for a consolidated law covering the whole of Tanzania.

Further details will be posted on this website as soon as we have more information. In the meantime, if you have any questions on any of the above matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.