Q
So Why Choose Abbay Attorneys?

Many local trademark attorneys charge their legal services by the hour and as a result can get very expensive. Abbay Attorneys offers entrepreneurs and business owners an easy, affordable way to protect their trademarks using the knowledge and expertise of a trademark attorney on their side, with affordable costs and within the client’s budget.

Q
What is required to register a trademark in Tanzania?
  1. Name, address and nationality of the Applicant, If a company certificate of Incorporation;
  2. One print of the proposed trademark (except for word marks in ordinary type);
  3. List of goods and services;
  4. List of Classes;
  5. Translation of Language of any non-English characters or words in the mark;
  6. Priority application number, country and date, if any;
  7. Certified copy of priority documents (with English translation),
  8. Power of Attorney, duly signed by authorised person.
Q
Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights: What Is the Difference?

Trademark is a word, slogan, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the goods of one company from those of another. Service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Patent is a grant of property rights to an inventor for an invention. The right conferred by a patent grant is the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in Tanzania or importing the invention into Tanzania.

Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors or creators of original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The copyright owner is granted the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the copyrighted work publicly.

Q
How long does it take to obtain a Trademark Registration?

A trademark application in Tanzania is generally examined in approximately 2-3 months from the date of filing. If the application is approved by an Registrar at the Trademark Registration Office the application will be published in the Official Journal, and the public will have 60 days to oppose. If there is no opposition, most applications are not opposed, then the Trademark Office will issue a Certificate of Registration.

Q
Should we conduct trademark searches before we register our trademarks?

Absolutely. Although it is not required by law, some form of trademark search should ideally be conducted before filing a trademark application. It is best to have a trained professional familiar with trademark law to conduct a search, but minimally an applicant should endeavor to see if others are using or have registered a similar mark for similar goods or services. While no search is guaranteed, a properly performed trademark registrability search can go a long way in helping an applicant to identify existing registered trademarks that might block an attempt to register a trademark. These searches can save time, money, and unnecessary complications down the road.

Q
How long can a trademark last?

Potentially indefinitely. As long as a trademark owner pays the fees to renew the trademark, it will not lapse. In Tanzania, Owners have to file renewal ten years after first registration date, and every 7 years after first renewal.

Q
What is trademark infringement?

A trademark infringement exists when an infringer uses a logo or name in a manner that creates a “likelihood of confusion” among consumers about the source of a good or service. A variety of factors can contribute to trademark infringement, but they include how close use of the name is, the types of goods and services on which they appear, and the intent of the alleged infringer. In other words if a potential customer might be confused about where a good or service originates, then there might be a case of trademark infringement.

Q
What types of defenses can be raised to allegations of trademark infringement?

A very basic defense is that a defendant’s use does not infringe the rights of a plaintiff. It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to exaggerate with respect to the scope of their alleged trademark rights. In some cases, a defendant’s use of a name or logo will not be similar enough to the plaintiff’s trademark to count as an infringement. In other instances, the goods or services of the defendants will be too far removed from those of the plaintiff so that “likelihood of confusion” is highly improbable. Depending on what type of trademark or service mark the plaintiff owns, the burden of proof can be significant. In some cases, with descriptive marks, a plaintiff may have to prove that the alleged trademark has obtained “secondary meaning” before they can get into the issue of infringement.
A variety of other defenses may be raised in trademark proceedings such as acquiescence, laches, and fair use. Whether a particular defense may be raised is a factually specific inquiry and defenses must be customized for a given case.

Q
What is the difference between counterfeiting and trademark infringement?

Counterfeiting” is the worst form of trademark infringement because it refers to a situation where the counterfeiter knowingly took the trademark of another and falsely applied it to a good that did not originate with the trademark owner. The counterfeiter is applying a trademark with the purpose of misappropriating the goodwill of that trademark and the value of that trademark that belongs to the owner. If the case of counterfeiting is proven, the penalties can be severe and even criminal.

The most obvious cases of trademark counterfeiting are with “fakes” such as purses or watches. But, the term “counterfeiting” is also used with reference to copyright. Counterfeiting can exist with both trademarked property and copyright protected property. In any case of counterfeiting a central issue is intent. For this reason, it is not always as clear as one might think about whether a counterfeit exists. In some cases, sellers of merchandise can be the unwitting victims of counterfeiters.

Q
Is there an international trademark?

There is still no single trademark filing that will cover all countries. But, the world is closer now than before because of international treaties, like the Madrid Protocol. A Madrid Protocol trademark application can be based on a state party registration and be used to obtain international protections. Once filed, a Madrid application will be forwarded to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland, which will register the mark and forward to “Contracting Parties” which are other countries in which the applicant wants to register a mark.

There are now over 90 countries that are members of the Madrid protocol, however Tanzania is not one of them, hence one cannot use trademark registered in Tanzania to obtain International Protection under the Madrid Protocol.

Q
What recourse does a trademark holder have against infringers?

A trademark holder can go after the trademark infringer for;

(a) lost sales attributable to the infringing goods or services;

(b) Loss of profits resulting from infringement;

(c) injunctions to stop future infringements; or

(d) seizures and destruction of infringing products.

In cases of emergency, a trademark holder may seek preliminary injunctions or temporary restraining orders to stop imminent shipments or infringements before they are unleashed on the consuming public. Seizures are particularly common in cases of counterfeit trademark infringement. If your business is being damaged by trademark infringement, or has been accused of trademark infringement, you should contact the attorneys at Abbay Attorneys, immediately so we can discuss your rights.

Q
What types of work can qualify for copyright protections in Tanzania?

A variety of subject matter can qualify for copyright protection. One of the main qualifications is that the work be “original” to the author, It doesn’t have to be the most creative work; however, it must originate with the author. Books, screenplays, sculptures, photographs, paintings, poems, architectural works, and even software are potentially eligible for copyright.

Q
What types of rights come with a copyright?

A copyright is somewhat of a misnomer, because it really represents several sub-rights which include the exclusive rights of the author to control reproduction, distribution, making derivative works, display and performance rights of the original work. Each of these rights is separately important because an infringer may only violate a few of the rights and it is nice to have options. For example, an infringer might not be making physical copies of a copyrighted work, but may be making infringing distributions of the work by displaying it over the Internet, or maybe making infringing performances of copyrighted song or movie by illicit file sharing without actually making a physical copy. It is important to know which sub-right is being violated when litigating copyright matters.

Q
Is there an international trademark?

There is still no single trademark filing that will cover all countries. But, the world is closer now than before because of international treaties, like the Madrid Protocol. A Madrid Protocol trademark application can be based on a state party registration and be used to obtain international protections. Once filed, a Madrid application will be forwarded to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland, which will register the mark and forward to “Contracting Parties” which are other countries in which the applicant wants to register a mark.

There are now over 90 countries that are members of the Madrid protocol, however Tanzania is not one of them, hence one cannot use trademark registered in Tanzania to obtain International Protection under the Madrid Protocol.

Q
We hired someone to create a work of art, but do we own the copyrights?

This is an excellent question and the answer is not always clear. The short answer is: it depends. In most cases, work that is performed by an employee in the course and scope of his or her employment will belong to the employer. However, work done off company time, which is not directly related to the business of the employer, or not done using company resources may create complicated issues and room for argument down the road. It is important to consider when and where employees will do the bulk of their work at the time they are hired if a company wants to retain intellectual property rights to work product.
If a work of art, or a website, or engineering drawings, or architectural plans are specifically commissioned for his work then ownership of the copyright will rest with the hiring party. However, if a proper “contract for service” agreement was not executed, then the copyright ownership might actually rest with the artist who is the default author of the work.

Q
What types of defenses can be raised to allegations of trademark infringement?

A very basic defense is that a defendant’s use does not infringe the rights of a plaintiff. It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to exaggerate with respect to the scope of their alleged trademark rights. In some cases, a defendant’s use of a name or logo will not be similar enough to the plaintiff’s trademark to count as an infringement. In other instances, the goods or services of the defendants will be too far removed from those of the plaintiff so that “likelihood of confusion” is highly improbable. Depending on what type of trademark or service mark the plaintiff owns, the burden of proof can be significant. In some cases, with descriptive marks, a plaintiff may have to prove that the alleged trademark has obtained “secondary meaning” before they can get into the issue of infringement.
A variety of other defenses may be raised in trademark proceedings such as acquiescence, laches, and fair use. Whether a particular defense may be raised is a factually specific inquiry and defenses must be customized for a given case.

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