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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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12-06-2016 (Newsletter Issue 22/16)
ARIPO
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IP Act of Liberia Changed


The new Liberian Industrial Property Act, 2014 (“the New Act”) was approved by the Liberian House of Representatives on June 14, 2016 and is now in force. The new Act repeals both the Copyright Act of Liberia 1997 and the Industrial Property Act of Liberia, 2003 (“the 2003 Act”) and provides for the protection of Copyright, Trade Marks, Geographical Indications, Industrial Designs, Patent and Utility Models and lay-out designs of Integrated circuits.

The Regulations are still being drafted and there is, accordingly, still some uncertainty regarding a number of aspects. Some of the amendments of the New Act are:
- Provision for the filing of international applications under the Madrid Protocol are made.
- Provision is also made for honest concurrent user applications.
- The registration of non-traditional trademarks, including colour and shape marks and Certification marks has been defined.
- Collective marks are redefined.
- A wide range of circumstances in which a trademark cannot be registered is provided.
- The New Act entitles the registered proprietor to prevent an unauthorised third party from using the mark under certain conditions.
- Use of an identical or similar mark to the registered trademark, in the course of trade for non-commercial purposes may constitute trademark infringement.
- Protects the advertising value of a trademark.
- Stipulation of a number of acts which shall be regarded as use of the mark in the course of trade, including the use of a mark in oral communications, irrespective of the means of communication or media used.
- Sets out various acts which shall not constitute trademark infringement, such as the parallel importation of genuine goods, provided that the goods and its packaging or wrapping have not suffered any alteration or damage.
- Any interested person may request the Director General to invalidate the registration of a trademark in relation to some or all of the goods or services for which the trademark has been registered.
- A registered trademark may be vulnerable to cancellation.
- A well-known distinctive mark shall be infringed by the unauthorised use of a mark identical or confusingly similar to that distinctive mark, where such use would indicate a connection between the goods and services of the owner of the well-known mark or the reputation of the mark or its owner is likely to be damaged by such use.
- The Act lists factors which shall be taken into consideration to determine whether a mark is well-known.
- It is stated that a mark will be considered to be well-known if it is generally known in one relevant sector of the public.
- Licensing of a registered trademark is recognized and licence agreements must provide for the effective control by the licensor, of the quality of the goods or services of the licencee in connection with which the mark is used. If the agreement does not provide for such quality control, or such control is not effectively carried out, the agreement will be invalid.
- Assignments shall be in writing and duly executed.

For further information, please see here

Source: Adams and Adams, South Africa