The Somali Democratic Republic (also known as Somalia) lies on the east coast of Africa, in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the north-west, and Kenya to the south. Somalia has a long coast line on the Indian Ocean, extending to the Gulf of Aden to the north.


Area: 637 657 km2

Population: 14,317,996

Capital: Mogadishu

Currency: Somali Shilling

GDP: $5.8 billion (2014)

Internet domain:  .so

Languages: Somali, Arabic (official languages)

Working week: Tuesday – Saturday

Exports: Livestock; bananas; hides; fish; charcoal; scrap material

Imports: Foodstuffs; manufactures; petroleum products; construction materials

  • Trade Marks

    Somalia is not a member of the Paris Convention. Even though Somalia is a member of the Lusaka Agreement (on ARIPO) and has apparently acceded to but not ratified the Banjul Protocol of ARIPO, no implementing legislation has been passed.

    Prior to 1991, the 1955 Ordinance applied in Somalia. Following the overthrow of the government in 1991, Somalia has been without a stable central government and it has become virtually impossible to file new trade mark or patent applications in Somalia, or to maintain existing applications/ registrations in Somalia.

    With regard to Somalia, kindly note that while the acquisition and enforcement of trade mark rights in Somalia is not possible, trade mark owners have been able to publish cautionary notices within the Somaliland administration. Kindly note that publication of cautionary notices provides a means for trade mark proprietors to give notice to third parties of the proprietorship of their trade marks and warn against the unauthorized use of the trade mark by third parties. As such the publication enables the proprietor to assert his rights in the trade mark in the absence of a formal trade mark registration system. Therefore, in the event of unauthorized use of the proprietor’s trade mark, the proprietor may institute a civil claim (for unjust enrichment or passing off) and use the published notice as evidence of his prior rights to the trade mark.

    Until recently, the publication of cautionary notices was only possible in Somaliland. It now appears that the publication of cautionary notices is also possible in Somalia as a whole.

    The requirements for the publication of these notices are as follows:

    1. a clear copy of the representation of the trade mark (including in colour, where necessary);
    2. a list of the relevant goods and/or services to which the trade mark is applied as per the Nice or international classification of goods and services; and
    3. the name and address of the proprietor of the trade mark.


    Usually, the publication of cautionary notices take place in the indigenous language (Somali) in a newspaper, which is published daily. There is no bar on the publication of notices in English via electronic media as well. This is, in fact, recommended as it will ensure a greater reach and should be more effective in deterring infringements.

    It is also advisable for cautionary notices to be re-published from time to time to reinforce trade mark rights in the country.

  • Patents

    Somalia is not a member of the Paris Convention.

    Somalia is a member of ARIPO, as it is a party to the Lusaka Agreement on the creation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organsation (ARIPO). However, Somalia has not yet acceded to the Harare Protocol which regulates the filing of patents and designs in ARIPO. Accordingly, Somalia cannot be designated in an ARIPO patent or design application.

  • Designs

  • Copyright

    Somalia is not a member of the Berne Convention.

  • Plant Breeders' Rights

    No legislation in force.