Intellectual Property

UNDERSTANDING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

Refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

What is Intellectual Property Rights?

IP rights are enforceable rights over creations of the mind. They are time or use bound, exclusive rights enabling the owner to exclude others from engaging in a variety of acts related to the subject matter, subject to exceptions and limitations defined in national law and allowed by international treaties.

IP rights give the creator the right to prevent others from making unauthorized use of their property for a limited period, in exchange of the disclosure of the creative work.

Two domains of Intellectual Property Rights:

1)      Industrial Property Rights includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.

2)      Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design.

 Institutions responsible for intellectual property

Laws establishing IP Institutions:

INSTITUTION OFFICE LEGAL INSTRUMENT (Institution established by-) HEADQUARTER DATE OF ENTERING INTO FOCE/ RATIFICATION/ ACCESSION
Business and Intellectual Property Authority National Office Business and Intellectual Property Authority, 2016 (Act No. 8 of 2016) Windhoek, Namibia 16 January 2017 (entered into force)
African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Regional Office Lusaka Agreement on the Creation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Harare, Zimbabwe October 14, 2003 (Accession) 
World Intellectual Property Authority(WIPO) International Office Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization Geneva, Switzerland December 23, 1991 (Accession)

About the IP Department in BIPAThe core functions of the IP Office are to register and grant intellectual property rights in Namibia. To promote the creation, use and protection of IP, and contribute to the development of the domestic, regional and international IP legal frameworks. The focus of the IP Office remains, delivery of quality and excellent services to the customers through administration and registration of IP rights; build an IP conscious society through various targeted stakeholders engagements with the view of building respect for IP; and participate in the development and improvement of the IP legal frameworks at national, regional and international fora.

About ARIPO:

Namibia is a member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in intellectual property matters. ARIPO was primarily established to promote intellectual property in the region as a tool for socio-economic development for its member states.There are currently 19 members of ARIPO, namely: Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About WIPO:

Namibia also became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1991 and is member of the following Unions: Madrid (the international Trademarks system); Patent Cooperation Treaty (the international Patent system); Hague (the international system for Industrial Designs); Paris (for the protection of Industrial Property Rights); and Berne (for the protection of Literary and Artistic Works). WIPO is an intergovernmental organization established in terms of the WIPO Convention of 1967. WIPO serves as the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. The organization is one of the oldest specialized agencies of the United Nations and has 191-member states, more than  97% of countries in the world. With its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO exists to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all member states.

 About IP Legal Framework in Namibia

Protection of intellectual property in Namibia is, therefore, governed in terms of the national legislations, regional agreements administered by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization and international agreements administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization as set out hereunder:

DOMAIN NATIONAL LEGISLATION REGIONAL INSTRUMENT INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENT
Trade Marks
  1. Trade Marks Act, 1973 (Act No. 48 of 1973)-

Provides for the establishment of the Trade Marks Registration Office, Appointment of the Registrar and registration of trade marks

Banjul Protocol on Marks Within the Framework of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) 1)       Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (WIPO)

2)       Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (WIPO)

Patents & Industrial Designs,

  1. Patents and Designs Act, 1916 (Act No. 9 of 1916)
  2. Patents, Designs, Trade Marks, and Copyright Proclamation, 1923 (Act No. 17 of 1923)

Provides for the establishment of the Patents and Industrial Designs Registration Office, Appointment of the Registrar and registration of patents and industrial designs

Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs Within the Framework of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO)

  1. Patent Cooperation Treaty (WIPO)
  2. Hague Agreement (Geneva Act, 1999)  Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (WIPO)

Industrial Property:

-       Trade Marks

-       Patents

-       Utility Models

-       Industrial Designs

Industrial Property Act, 2012 (Act No 1 of 2012) - Yet to enter into force Repeals and consolidates laws on Trade Marks, Patents and Industrial Designs; Provides for the establishment of the Industrial Property (IPR) Registration

  Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (WIPO)

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO)

 Copyright and Related Rights Copyright and Neighboring Rights Protection Act, 1994 (Act No. 6 of 1994)

  1. Berne Convention (WIPO)
  2. Marrakesh VIP Treaty (WIPO, Namibia signed but not yet ratified)
  3. WIPO Copyright Treaty (Signed but not ratified)
  4. WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (Signed but not ratified)
  5. Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (Signed but not ratified)
  6. Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO)

Traditional Knowledge & Expression of Folklore Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore within the Framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)