UGANDA Trade Marks - Adoption of 9th Edition, Nice Classification - STILL NO Service Mark Protection

A letter was issued on 10 June 2009, by the Uganda Registrar General’s office to all intellectual property practitioners. It announced that the International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Classification) must be complied with, for registration of trade marks. The letter refers to a copy of the classification, available at the Registry and that copy is of the 9th edition. As such, it includes Classes 35 - 45 of services.

That was interpreted by some practitioners to mean that service mark protection has become available in Uganda. Mindful that the national Trade Marks Act and Rules date back to 1952 and refer solely to goods, we have discussed the announcement with the Ugandan authorities. It has been confirmed that the law has not yet been amended to provide for service marks and accordingly the Registry is not open for filing of service mark applications.

The 10 June letter reflects the administrative decision by the Registrar of Trade Marks that specifications of goods in trade mark applications must comply with the most up-to-date classification in the 9th Nice edition.

The Uganda Government is aware of the need to recognise service marks. A Trade Marks Bill is before Parliament which will definitely provide for them and which may be passed before the end of 2009. The question of supporting regulations, forms etc., remains open for the time being.

We shall continue to keep a close watch on developments, which will be reported on our web site. Meanwhile instructions for trade mark (goods) applications are welcome and should follow the 9th edition. Advice and information on this and other African industrial property topics are available from your usual Spoor & Fisher contacts or

Date published: 2009/06/17
Author: Spoor & Fisher

Tags: uganda trade marks no service mark protection