News & insights

Sudan: Navigating the Sanctions Regulations

April 7, 2021

On December 14, 2020, the US Government announced Sudan’s removal from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (the “SST List”). This follows another update, on August 11, 2020, when the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that US persons are no longer prohibited from engaging in transactions with respect to Sudan or the government of Sudan that were previously prohibited by the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538 (SSR).

It is worth noting, however, that the national emergency declared with respect to Sudan in Executive Order (E.O.) 13067 remains in effect, as expanded upon in scope by subsequent executive orders to include the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region. The aforementioned national emergency in Sudan provides the basis for OFAC’s sanctions on individuals and entities in connection with the conflict in Darfur.

As Sudan aims to develop non-oil sources of revenues, it becomes salient for brand owners to consider the protection of their intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the North Africa nation. Sudan maintains an adequate legislative framework for the protection of IPRs, and in order to have an effective protection strategy, all intellectual property rights must be registered and enforced in Sudan, under local laws.

By way of background, Sudan is a member of the Madrid Agreement, the Madrid Protocol and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). A trademark registration is available through a national filing or international filing. Patents applications can be filed via national filings in Sudan, regional filing at ARIPO, and national phase Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. Designs applications are possible throughout ARIPO and national filings.

Accordingly, certain prohibitions and licensing considerations still apply with respect to Sudan, including, but not limited to:

  • Export controls: US persons and non-US persons need to obtain any licenses required by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to export or reexport to Sudan certain items (commodities, software, and technology) that are on the Commerce Control List (CCL), Supp. No. 1 to part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. parts 730-774 (EAR). Section 742.10 of the EAR sets forth certain anti-terrorism licensing requirements and policies that are specific to Sudan. In limited circumstances, US persons and non-US persons may also need to obtain licenses from BIS to export or reexport to Sudan items that are subject to the EAR but not specifically listed on the CCL (“EAR99” items) if such transactions implicate certain end-use or end-user concerns (see 15 C.F.R. part 744).
  • Humanitarian transactions: Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), an OFAC license is required for certain exports or reexports to the Government of Sudan or any other entity in Sudan of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices. These activities are currently generally licensed under the Terrorism List Governments Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. § 596.506 (TLGSR), to the extent prohibited by the TLGSR. No license is required for these exports or reexports, including for financing these exports or reexports.

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