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Trademarks, Copyrights & Patent Law 


A trademark is defined as a sign or combination of signs capable of distinguishing goods and services of one company from those of other companies. The law governing trademarks in Uganda is the Trademarks Act, 2010. This law provides for the procedure of registration of trademarks in Uganda; appeals from the decisions of the Registrar to the High Court; procedure to be followed by persons wishing to object to the registration of trademarks; assignment and transmission of trademarks; and legal proceedings before the Registrar. The law provides that persons who forge or counterfeit a trademark commit an offence.


The law governing the protection of copyrights in Uganda is the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 2006. The law provides for the right of protection of work where the work is original and is reduced to material form. Works that have protection under the law include the following: articles, books, pamphlets, lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of a similar nature; dramatic, dramatic-musical and musical works; audio-visual works and sound recording, including cinematographic works and other work of a similar nature; choreographic works and pantomimes; computer programmes and electronic data banks and other accompanying materials; works of drawing, painting, photography, typography, mosaic, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography and tapestry; works of applied art, whether handicraft or produced on industrial scale, and works of all types of designing; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science; derivative work which by selection and arrangement of its content, constitute original work; and any other work in the field of literature, traditional folklore and knowledge, science and art in whatever manner delivered, known or to be known in the future.


An invention that is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable can be protected under the law through registration of a patent. The law governing the grant, registration and protection of patents in Uganda is the Patents Act, 1992 and the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002. These laws provide for the procedure of registration of patents, as well as appeals to the High Court from the decisions of the Registrar. The law also provides for the protection in Uganda, of patents registered by the secretariat of the African Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) based in Lusaka, Zambia. When a patent has been registered, the owner has an exclusive right to make, use, exercise and vend the invention, and may preclude any person from exploiting the patented invention without his or her authorization.


Bernard Namanya

Partner, Kampala

+256(0)777 688 121

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