RWANDA: Changes to IP Legislation

Past April 20th, 2016 the Rwandan government has released an Official Gazette Special.

This important document, drafted in Kinyarwanda, French and English, makes effective recently promulgated laws and modifies various IP laws. The main changes are the following:

  • Law No. 005 of 05/04/2016 governing Seeds and Plant Varieties in Rwanda

The Rwandan government, with the support of ARIPO and the Rwandan development board, has promulgated the Law Governing Seeds and Plant Varieties. Accordingly, right holders will now be able to seek protection for seed and plant varieties in Rwanda.

  • Ministerial Order No. 24 of 17/03/2016 concerning the payable registration fees for intellectual property services

The government has determined a new and reduced schedule of official fees for registrations and related services for intellectual property, such as filings and renewals.

  • Ministerial Order No. 25 of 17/03/2016 determining the timeframe provided for grant of unilateral licenses, compulsory licenses and oppositions to the registration of IP rights

  • For unilateral and compulsory licencesRevised timeframes

 The timeframe for unilateral licences is now four years and the timeframe for compulsory licences is 12 month renewable limit.

  • Revised opposition time lines and requirements

 The timeframe to oppose an application for registration of a trademark or geographical indication is 60 days from the publication date.

 The elements required for the opposing party are now identified, which are: identity of applicant; object of opposition; detailed reasons of opposition; material evidence; power of attorney, if necessary; and the date and signature of the applicant.

 Upon receipt of the opposition, the applicant has fourteen days to submit a written response to the opposition.

  • Limitation of registered intellectual property rights

 The Trade Mark Act now gives the minister the possibility to remove from the trade mark register, trademarks he believes are extinct, were acquired in bad faith or in contravention with the law.

  • Ministerial Order No. 26 of 17/03/2016 determining the form and content of the power of attorney for industrial property

The order sets out a new format for the Power of Attorney and requires the Power of Attorney to be notarized.

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