Prof Patrick Ogwang has filed an application to Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) for a trademark for his Covid19 herbal medicine formula Covidex.
A notice of Prof Ogwang’s application was published in the Uganda Gazette on June 28.
Complaints on the application are expected in two months, absence of which the trademark will be issued alongside a registration certificate.
If issued, the trademark will likely put to an end the battle for Intellectual Property (IP) rights between Prof Ogwang and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (Must).
In the following text, URSB explains what a trademark is and sheds light on the process of application.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company from those of other enterprises.
A Trademark may consist of any word, symbol, design, slogan, logo, sound, smell, colour, label, name, signature, letter, numeral or any combination of them and should be capable of being represented graphically.
The Trademark has to be distinctive, non-descriptive and not likely to cause confusion.
The Trademark owner has the exclusive rights to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar mark.
Why register a Trademark?
Registration of a trademark gives the owner an exclusive right to use the registered mark on the goods and/or services for which it is registered.
The owner of a registered mark can sue for infringement of his registration if someone else uses the same or a similar mark on the same or similar goods and/or services for which the mark is registered.
Registration gives one’s business the ability to distinguish itself from other providers in the market and prohibits others from capitalizing on an enterprise’s marketing efforts and good will.
What is the procedure for applying for a trade mark?
Step 1: A person who intends to apply for the registration of a trademark shall carry out a search to ascertain whether the trademark exists in the register upon payment of a prescribed fee.
Step 2: A trademark application is then filed upon payment of application fees.
The application should contain the mark proposed to be used, the class of goods or services, the name, address and the signature of applicant.
If the applicant is a foreign company, a Power of Attorney or Form of Authorization (TM no. 1) to an agent (Advocate of the High Court) will be required.
Step 3: The application is then examined to determine its inherent registrability and conflict with prior existing registrations /applications.
Step 4: If accepted, the application will be advertised in the Uganda Gazette for 60 days.
Step 5: If there is no opposition after the expiration of 60 days of the advertisement, the Registrar shall upon payment of the prescribed fee by the applicant enter the Trademark in the register and issue a Certificate of registration.
Trademark application, registration fees
For Ugandans, processing a trademark requires Shs275,000, while for foreigners the procedure takes $545.
Additional information: URSB