New Approach to Trade Mark Renewals

Historically, trade marks filed in Burundi were valid indefinitely; therefore, there was no need to pay renewal fees in this jurisdiction. In 2009, the law regarding trade mark renewals in Burundi changed. As mentioned in previous editions of this Update, trade mark proprietors should be aware of the impact on their trade mark registrations in this jurisdiction.

Burundi Law No. 1/13, relating to industrial property, came into effect on 28 July 2009 (hereinafter referred to as “the New Legislation”). As indicated above, prior to the new legislation, once registered, a trade mark registration remained valid indefinitely. The New Legislation altered this position and every trade mark that was registered on, or after, 28 July 2009, will remain valid only for a period of 10 years. Thereafter, it may be renewed by the trade mark proprietor on each 10th year anniversary, in perpetuity.

Trade marks that were registered before 28 July 2009 should have been renewed upon expiry of 10 years since the New Legislation came to force (i.e., on 28 July 2019), and every 10 years thereafter.

KEY OPPORTUNITIES & CONCERNS

Opportunities

  • Coffee and tea are established exports
  • Decision by President Nkurunziza not to seek another term will ease political tension and may reduce tribal discrimination and earn international good-will
  • Social services, particularly education and healthcare, require large-scale refurbishments

Concerns

  • The country’s landlocked position limits export industries
  • A lawless, dictatorial government is kept from committing genocide by a UN presence
  • A massive refugee crisis will distort society until resolved politically

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