The Business and Intellectual Property Authority Act no. 198 of 2016 (“the BIPA Act”) was passed by Parliament and signed by President Hage Geingob during a public signing ceremony on 12 August 2016.
The BIPA Act provides for the establishment of the Namibian Business and Intellectual Property Authority (“BIPA”), a central body for the registration, regulation and administration of businesses and intellectual property rights. BIPA has already been up and running for some time now under the Companies Act. The establishment of BIPA is intended to improve service delivery and the administration of IP rights and and company registrations in Namibia. The President has expressed his hope this will attract the attention of foreign investors.
One of the most important changes BIPA has introduced is the online registration of companies and close corporations through its website. It also appears that electronic patent applications will be possible soon.
The BIPA Act is welcomed by local practitioners but there are some concerns regarding the effective implementation of the Act. The Act is not yet in operation and is expected to come into force in March 2017 together with the new Industrial Property Act 1 of 2012, which is still awaiting Regulations. Questions related to the BIPA or intellectual property rights in Namibia may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kareema Shaik | Senior Associate