RWANDA IP GUIDEEast Africa
The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked independent state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Uganda to the north, Burundi to the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Tanzania to the east.
Area: 26 338 km2
Population: 11 million
Currency: Rwandan Franc
GDP: $ 8.918 billion (2017)
Rwanda is a member of the Paris Convention and the WTO/TRIPS. Rwanda has not acceded to the Banjul Protocol of ARIPO.
Provision is made for the registration of trade marks for goods and services, for collective marks and for certification marks. Provision is also made for the protection of geographical indications and trade names.
Rwanda is a member of the Paris Convention, the PCT, ARIPO (Harare Protocol), and the WTO/TRIPS.
Patent protection is available via a national filing or via an ARIPO application designating Rwanda. Rwanda has not yet implemented the Harare Protocol (which regulates patent and design filings in ARIPO) and the provisions of PCT in its national laws. However, it appears that valid patent protection could be obtainable by filing via ARIPO or PCT, based on a specific provision of the Intellectual Property Law, which states that the provisions of any international intellectual property treaty of which Rwanda is a party, shall apply. Furthermore, in case of conflict with the provisions of this Law, the provisions of the international treaty shall prevail.
Rwanda is a member of the Paris Convention, ARIPO (Harare Protocol), the Hague Agreement on Designs, and the WTO/TRIPS.
Design protection is available by a national filing. Since Rwanda is a member of ARIPO (Harare Protocol) and the Hague Agreement it is expected that design protection could also be obtained by designation in ARIPO applications and international applications under the Hague. However, Rwanda has not yet implemented these treaties in its nationals laws, so that the position is uncertain. It appears that valid protection could possibly be obtained on the basis of a specific provision in the 2009 Law to the effect that the provisions of any international treaty of which Rwanda is a party, shall apply in Rwanda and shall prevail over the law in Rwanda.
Since Rwanda is a member of the Paris Convention, priority may be claimed on the basis of an earlier application.
Rwanda is a member of the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the WTO/TRIPS.
The law provides for copyright in respect of literary and artistic works that are original intellectual creations, including:
- works expressed by writing, eg books, pamphlets and computer programs
- conferences, speeches, lectures, addresses, sermons and other oral works
- musical works
- dramatic and dramatico-musical works
- choreographic works, pantomimes
- audiovisual works
- works of fine art, eg painting, drawing, sculpture, engraving, lithography, tapestry
- works of architecture
- photographic works
- works of applied art or craft, eg handicraft, industrial designs
- illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, three-dimensional works relating to geography, topography, architecture
- works derived from Rwanda folklore.
The following shall also be protected:
- translations, adaptations, arrangements of works
- collections of works, expressions of folklore, or of facts or data.
Excluded from protection are:
- official texts of a legislative, administrative or judicial nature
- daily news
- ideas, procedures, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles.
Plant Breeders' Rights
Currently, no legislative provision for plant breeders’ rights or other sui generis protection for plants is available in Rwanda.
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Proprietors of trade marks in Rwanda should take note of an upcoming trade mark renewal deadline which may be relevant to their marks in this country.
A Rwandan trade mark registration is valid for a 10 year period from the date of filing and is, thereafter, renewable for like periods. The Rwandan Registry allows for a grace period of 10 months following the expiry of a mark, within which to apply for the late renewal of a mark, subject to the payment of a penalty fee.