After a period of almost three-decades on hiatus and following the issuance of Ministerial Decree 1 of 2019, the Somali Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has officially resumed operations.
While the East African nation is expected to issue new legislation on intellectual property, for the time being the pre-federal IP law remains in force. Prior to this update, some sort of protection could be sought out by publishing cautionary notices at regular intervals in a local newspaper.
Somalia follows the Nice classification and an application can include one class. Trademark examination is performed on absolute and relative grounds and the opposition period is 45 days from publication date. The protection term for a trademark is 10 years from filing date and is renewable for like periods. Given that Somalia is not a member of the Paris Convention, priority cannot be claimed.
Filing requirements are: (1) power of attorney, simply signed; (2) certificate of incorporation; and (3) copy of home certificate of registration.
By way of background, Somaliland is a self-declared country in the Horn of Africa, internationally considered to be part of Somalia; however, a SIPO registration is unlikely to be enforceable there. It is therefore recommended to publish cautionary notices on a regular basis in Somaliland.
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