MALAWI IP GUDESouthern Africa | ARIPO Member
Malawi is a landlocked country in the south-western region of Central Africa, with Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and east, and Mozambique to the south and east. Lake Malawi forms most of Malawi’s eastern boundary.
Area: 118 484 km2
Population: 18,091,575 million
Currency: Malawian Kwacha
GDP: $ 22.658 billion (2017)
Malawi is a member of the Paris Convention, the Nice Agreement, and the Banjul Protocol of ARIPO, and the WTO/TRIPS.
Provision is made for the registration of trade marks in respect of goods and services. It is also possible to register collective marks, certification marks and geographical indications. In addition, the new trade mark legislation also provides for the protection of well-known marks.
Malawi is a member of the Paris Convention, ARIPO (Harare Protocol), the PCT and the WTO/TRIPS. Malawi is also a member of the Strasbourg Agreement on the International Patent Classification.
Patent protection is available by way of a national filing or via an ARIPO application designating Malawi. The Act expressly recognises the Harare Protocol of ARIPO and provides that a patent granted under the Protocol (and designating Malawi) shall have effect in Malawi as if it were granted under the Act. It would appear, therefore, that valid patent protection could be obtained via an ARIPO application designating Malawi.
However, Malawi has not yet promulgated regulations to implement the Harare Protocol. Accordingly, there is uncertainty regarding the enforceability of rights obtained through the filing of an ARIPO application designating Malawi.
Malawi has not yet amended its laws to provide for the PCT. Accordingly, it is not certain whether valid patent protection can be obtained via a PCT national phase application in Malawi.
Malawi is a member of the Paris Convention, ARIPO (Harare Protocol), the Locarno Agreement on Classification of Designs and the WTO/TRIPS.
Design protection is available by way of a national filing or via an ARIPO application designating Malawi. The Harare Protocol is recognised in the Act, and there is a provision that a design registered under the Protocol shall have effect in Malawi as if it were a design registered under the Act. However, Malawi has not fully implemented the Harare Protocol (which regulates patent and design filings in ARIPO) in its national laws. Accordingly, it is unclear whether any valid rights would be obtained by way of an ARIPO design registration designating Malawi.
Malawi is a member of the Berne Convention.
The Act provides for the following works to be eligible for copyright protection:
- literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
- expressions of folklore
- audiovisual works and sound recordings
- typographical arrangements of works published in Malawi.
Literary works are further defined to include:
- novels, stories, poetic works, letters, reports, memoranda
- plays, stage directions, film scenarios, broadcasting scripts
- textbooks, treaties, essays, articles, encyclopaedias, dictionaries
- lectures, addresses and sermons
- charts, tables and compilations of data
- computer programs.
Artistic works are further defined to include:
- paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, engravings, prints
- maps, plans, diagrams
- works of sculpture, works of architecture
- photographs, works of artistic craftsmanship.
Folklore is defined to mean literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works belonging to the cultural heritage of Malawi created, preserved and developed by ethnic communities of Malawi.
Plant Breeders' Rights
Currently, no legislative provision for plant breeders’ rights or other sui generis protection for plants is available in Malawi.
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The National Intellectual Property Policy was launched in Malawi in May 2019. The Policy is part of the Malawian government’s Growth and Development Strategy III, which has identified industrialisation and the structural transformation of the economy as a key priority area essential to maintaining long-term growth and economic development.
In terms of Malawi’s new Trademarks Act, it is compulsory to file a declaration of intention to use at the time of filing an application. We therefore suggest that all new applications be accompanied by a declaration of intention to use, in order to avoid problems when filing an application.