News & insights

South Sudan: Untapped, Fertile Grounds

November 3, 2014

With the self-proclaimed status of the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan claims sovereignty over 644,329 square kilometers of land in East Africa. The country shares borders with Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda – making South Sudan readily accessible.

Natural resources in South Sudan include ample lands for agriculture, water, gold, as well as other metal ores, diamonds, and oil. Despite these various resources, oil production accounts for almost 98% of government revenue and South Sudan remains dependent on neighboring Sudan to transport the oil through pipelines to the Red Sea. More recently, however, community leaders in South Sudan aim to decrease the government’s dependence on oil production through livestock exports – given the country’s vast land space and copious water resources from the White Nile. This move suggests that alternative means to boost the economy are in the works, which affords foreign investment a different form of fecundity.

The GDP in South Sudan is $14.71 billion, while the GDP per capita is $1,400. The GDP composition is 34.9 percent for household consumption, 17.1 percent for government consumption, 10.4 percent for investment in fixed capital, and 64.9 percent for exports of goods and services.

Intellectual property is an area of interest for the government of South Sudan. Earlier this year, we reported on the Ministry of Justice admission of trademark applications under the provisions of the trademarks act of 1969 (that is currently in force in Sudan). There are talks that South Sudan will be issuing a trademark law of their own in the near future. In principle, registrations submitted under the act of 1969 will remain valid after the issuance of the new trademark law of South Sudan.

The main features of trademark registration are as follows:

Filing Requirements 

1. Notarized POA 
2. Certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the applicant company.
3. A letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice requesting reservation and registration of the trademark, signed and sealed by the applicant company

In regards to the last point, it is worth noting that if the applicant is the manufacturer of the products, they should confirm their ownership in the said letter. Whereas, if the applicant is not the manufacturer of the products, then an additional letter of authorization is required from the manufacturers to the applicant as sole agent.

Classification 

The International Classification of Goods and Services (9th Edition) is followed – in accordance with the trademark act of 1969.

Examination
 
Examination is performed on formal, absolute and relative grounds.
 
Opposition

No provision of opposition is applicable at the time of publication of this article

Extension of Time

Extension of time is not possible.

Protection Term

Trademark registrations are valid for 10 years from filing date and are renewable for like periods. There is a grace period of 6 months for late renewals with payment of a surcharge.

Documents required for renewal: Power of attorney, notarized. 

Use Requirements 

Use of a trademark is not required for registration or renewal of a mark. However, a trademark is vulnerable to cancellation by any interested party if there has been no effective use of the mark for a period of 5 consecutive years after registration date.

Search

An official search can be conducted for word marks and devices. A separate application is required for search in each class. The search report discloses similar and identical trademark registrations as well as applications.

Assignment 

Documents required:
1. Deed of assignment, legalized by the Sudanese Consulate 
2. Legal forms Nos. T. M. 11 and T. M. 12, legalized by the Sudanese Consulate 
3. Certified extract from the Commercial Register OR certificate of incorporation of the assignee (with certified Arabic or English translation), legalized by the Sudanese Consulate
4. Power of attorney on behalf of the assignor, notarized 
5. Power of attorney on behalf of the assignee, notarized

Change of Name/Address

A change of name/address may be recorded for trademark applications and registrations.

Documents required: Power of attorney, notarized and certificate of change of name, legalized.

Licensing

License recordal is not compulsory but advisable in order to be effective against third parties. 
Documents required: Power of attorney from the licensor, notarized; power of attorney from the licensee, notarized; license agreement, legalized; and certificate of incorporation of licensee, legalized.

Merger

A merger may be recorded for trademark applications and registrations. 

Documents required: Power of attorney, notarized; certificate of merger, legalized.

Marking

Marking is not compulsory.

Three Dimensional Trademark Applications

Inadmissible.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us atinfo@sabaip.com