The protection of well-known Trademarks in Angola is no longer questionable and the absence of specific provision in the current national legislation, the Industrial Property Act, 3/92 of 1992, cannot be a serious argument against the protection of Trademarks that are well-known in the country, for two main reasons.
In one hand, because Angola signed the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property on 27 December 2007 and the Angolan Registry use this Convention as the legal basis to refuse a Trademark when it constitutes a reproduction or imitation of a well-known trademark in Angola.
On the other hand, because the role of the well-known brands in the country is gradually spreading out from the original main area, the economy, into the social area.
Serious studies on the Angolan consumer tendencies are being carried out, following which prizes are awarded to the most prestigious national and international brands in the local economy. In this field, Superbrands, the world’s largest independent arbiter of branding, is playing a fundamental role to assist and develop the understanding in the country of the brands’ behavior on the market and socially. For instance, in accordance with the information released by Superbrands Angola, the most relevant brands in Angola for the period of 2012-2019 are related to the Soft Drinks, IT and Electronics and Automotive sectors. Also, while brands in the fashion and sports industry are the best known by the young population, the oldest persons tend to recognize more easily brands related to soft drinks and beers.
Notably, these studies are a relevant tool to any person or company interested in investing in this market. It is also obvious that a national award, such as the Superbrands Angola award, will create a positive boost in the brands’ products sales. But, it is also significant that these studies and awards are irrefutable evidence of the notoriety of a trademark when the effectiveness of its notoriety is at stake, namely before the Angolan Registry.
The recognition of a Trademark notoriety by the Angolan Registry depends on the Trademark’s holder ability to submit conclusive evidence that his or its trademark is being used and is well-known by the relevant public. Although the proof of the use may be easily provided, namely by invoices to local entities, a listing of local distributors of the trademark products, photos of the brands’ products on the local market, for example. Provide evidence of the notoriety’s trademark is not a so easy task, essentially if the sector in cause is a specific and unusual sector. In this matter, receiving a national award is of course of inestimable value.
Yet, even if there are numerous benefits of projects like the Superbrands Angola awards, because only a small and selective number of brands is awarded (22 for the year 2019), this sort of initiatives are insufficient when we consider major issues like the acquisition of notoriety for one trademark in this specific market, the well-known trademarks proof and the well-known Trademarks protection in Angola.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the Angolan national IP legislation is silent on the protection and enforcement of well-known trademarks and that the private initiatives such as Superbrands are insufficient to remedy the lack of legislation, Angola shall not be feared by the well-known trademark holders, quite the contrary.
First of all, because the Angolan Registry easily and usually provides protection to well-known trademarks when their notoriety is obvious and almost irrefutable in the country.
Second of all, in the cases of less known trademarks which, nevertheless, may be considered as being well-known trademarks, the holders may have at their disposal other forms to prove the notoriety of their trademarks. It is at this level that the social role of the well-known trademark plays an important part.
It is common knowledge that the relationship consumer-brand has changed. The consumers now expect brands to take a stand and act on major social and environmental issues and the expectations of the Angolan consumers follow this move. It is no longer enough for the products to have higher quality and desirable image to attract the consumers, it is also paramount that the brands symbolize solid social values and its holders act in accordance to these values.
In Angola, numerous social actions on the field would not only increase the brand’s products sells but would also favour the establishment of the brand notoriety in the local market and provide the necessary evidence for the recognition of a well-known trademark protection.
In the end, being socially responsible is advantageous in terms of brand value and Goodwill, in terms of well-known trademark protection and it is in our opinion the right path to follow in Angola.