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Rwanda (RW)

Apr 22, 2021 (Newsletter Issue 8/21)
Maximum Duration of International Designs Specified
On April 20, 2021, the WIPO received from the Office of the Registrar General, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the declaration as required under Article 17(3)(c) of the Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, specifying that the maximum duration of protection provided for by the legislation of Rwanda in respect of industrial designs is 15 years.

The 15-year maximum duration of protection applies to all international registrations designating Rwanda, including those whose international registration date is before the date of this Information Notice.


Apr 02, 2020 (Newsletter Issue 5/20)
Grace Period Extended
On January 31, 2020, the Rwanda Development Board issued a notice stipulating that according to Law no. 31/2009 the owners of trademarks filed before December 14, 2009 and who have not renewed its trademarks until December 14, 2019 will now be able to count on another 10 months of grace period. Therefore, the deadline to renew the trademarks filed before December 14, 2009 ends on October 13, 2020.


Jun 28, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 12/18)
Clarification of Renewal Date
As recently reported in May, all trademark registrations filed prior to the coming into force of Rwanda Law 31/2009 on the Protection of Intellectual Property (the Law) are scheduled for renewal in 2019.

The new Law, which is dated October 26, 2009, came into force following its publication on December 14, 2009. The provisions of the new Law require all trademarks filed under the previous arrangements to be renewed 10 years after the new Law came into force.

Originally, the Registry advised that the renewal date would be October 26, 2019, and for a number of renewals filed early the Registry have issued certificates based on this information.

More recently, the Registry clarified that the renewal due date of old Law cases is December 14, 2019, (based on the date of publication), and have requested that certificates issued with the October date be returned for correction.


May 08, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 9/18)
Renewal Action and Deadlines
Existing trademark registrations under Rwanda Law 31/2009 of October 26, 2009, effective from December 14, 2009, on Protection of Intellectual Property are scheduled for renewal in 2019. The Law states that existing registrations can be renewed within ten years of the entry into force of the Law, i.e. by December 14, 2019.

In Rwanda, there are no lapsed trademarks because it is the first time that a trademark renewal action has been introduced under the 2009 IP Law and it is advised that the renewal application should be filed well before the deadline for a smoother processing of the same.

The documents required for the renewal of trademark registrations are: a notarized Power of attorney and a simple copy of the certificate of registration. The time frame to receive the renewal certificate is 2 to 4 weeks from filing the renewal application.

Source: JAH & Co. IP, Qatar

May 08, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 9/18)
Opposition Term Changed
The term for filing an opposition to an application for a trademark or a geographical indication has been increased from 30 days to 60 days (non-extendable).

The term within which the applicant for registration must respond is 14 days. A power of attorney must be submitted at the time of filing with a possible extension term of 7 days for late submission of POA.

Source: JAH & Co. IP, Qatar

Jun 14, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 11/16)
Opposition Period and IP Laws Amended
The Rwandan government published Law No. 005 of 2016 and various Ministerial Orders to amend the opposition period and to introduce changes to Rwanda’s Intellectual Property Laws. The amendments became effective with the publication in the Official Gazette on April 20, 2016.

Some of the main changes are the following:
- The period for filing opposition to trademark applications and geographical indications has been amended from formerly 30 days to 60 days.
- Some of the official fees for registration, prosecution and renewal of trademarks, patents, industrial designs, geographical indications and utility models have been reduced.
- A new format of Power of Attorney is required.
- The Power of Attorney needs to be notarised for grantors whose habitual residence or principal place of business is located outside Rwanda.
- The time frame for unilateral licenses and compulsory licenses has been revised.
- Law No. 005 of 2016 now provides recognition and protection of seed and plant varieties.

For further information, please access the gazette here, available in three languages (Kinyarwanda, French and English). Please also check the article of Adams & Adams to receive additional information.

Source: Adams & Adams, South Africa and Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (

Legal basis is the law of Protection of Intellectual Property, Law N° 31/2009 of October 26, 2009.
Rwanda is a member of the Madrid Protocol since August 17, 2013. Further, Rwanda is a member of the Paris Convention (since 1984), WIPO Convention (since 1984) and WTO/TRIPS (since 1996). Rwanda has not yet acceded to the Banjul Protocol of ARIPO.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
The International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Classification) is applied.
A trade mark is defined as any visible sign enabling the products (product marks) or services (service marks) of one company to be distinguished from those of other companies.

A sign may be
• any form of denomination including words, names, letters, figures and acronyms
• figurative elements such as designs, relief, product forms or packaging
• colours or combinations of colours
• combinations of the above.

The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application is filed at the Office of the Registrar General, Rwanda Development Board.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
An application can include goods in any number of classes.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A power of attorney needs to be notarised by a Notary Public and the format/template of this power of Attorney annexed to the Ministerial Order N°26 of 17/03/2016 determining the form and content of power of attorney in respect of the industrial property. .
Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The Registrar examines the application to determine whether it complies with the formal and substantive requirements. The Registrar shall, if he is satisfied that the application complies with the requirements, accept the application and advertise the application for opposition purposes in the Trade Marks Journal and in official gazette. The opposition period is 60 days from the date of publication. Thereafter the registration certificate will be issued.
Provision is made for the registration of trade marks for goods and services, for collective marks and for certification marks. Provision is also made for the protection of geographical indications and trade names.
The approximate time frame for completing the registration process of a trademark in Rwanda is approximately 3 months.
The opposition period is 60 days from the publication date of the application.

Details regarding the Opposition Period against designation of IR Mark are available in our publication on this topic here
A trade mark registration is effective for a period of 10 years from the date of filing and, thereafter, is renewable for like periods.

According to the transitional provisions, a trade mark registered under the old 1963 Act shall remain valid and must be considered to have been granted or registered under the new 2009 Law. A trade mark that has been registered under the old 1963 Act must be renewed within 10 years of the date on which the new Law came into force.
Practical details on grace periods for trademark renewals are available in our publication here
Practical details on trademark use requirements are available in our publication here
The official fee for filing a trademark application is RWF 35,000 for one class and RWF 3,000 for each additional class as per the new Ministerial Order N°24 of March 17, 2016 determining fees payable for registration services of intellectual property.

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Practical details on trademark licensing are available in our publication here
Online you can see a limited part of information about this country.
More in-depth details are available for the following aspects:

     General Trademark Regulations
     Trademark Use Requirements
     Grace Period for Trademark Renewal
     Trademark Licensing

If you like to purchase all available information for this country, click the order button.
The total price is 49.00 EUR. A PDF-Download will be sent to you electronically.

SMD Group thanks the following law firms for their assictance in updating the information provided.

Apr 29, 2024
IPvocate Africa Legal Advisers Ltd., Ebène, Mauritius  

LegalBrain Associates

250 Kigali
Rwanda (RW)

J&C Gate Chambers

KG 622 St Kimihurura
Rwanda (RW)

Rwanda Development Board Office of the Registrar General (RDB)
P.O. Box 6239
Tel +250 788 697 632
Fax +250 252 580 388

African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO)
11 Natal Road

P.O. Box 4228

Tel +263 0242 794065
Fax +263 47 94 07 2

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
34, Chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20
Tel +41 22 33 89 11 1
Fax +41 22 73 35 42 8