The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) is the national Intellectual Property Office in Namibia; and the custodian of Industrial Property Rights (IPRs) that mandated the establishment of the Industrial Property Tribunal (IPT). The Industrial Property Tribunal is established in accordance with section 215 of the Industrial Property Act 1/2012.
The Tribunal is a specialised court recognised by the Constitution Act, 1/1990, to deal with disputes related to intellectual property rights. The administration and conduct of proceedings of the IPT will be done per the IPT rules as prescribed by section 227 of the Act. The rules were published by the Chairman of the Rules Board in the Government Gazette (notice No 131) on 29 April 2022.
Gazette 131: IP Tribunal Rules
What is the purpose of the IP Tribunal?
The purpose of establishing the Tribunal is to provide an appropriate and specialised dispute adjudication mechanism for IPRs such as Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs and Utility Models. By establishing the Tribunal, the Namibian Government intends to speedily deal with Industrial property (IP) disputes and thus encourage owners of IP to enforce their rights.
What are the jurisdiction and functions of the IPT?
The functions and the powers of the Tribunal are laid down in sections 220 (2) and 221 of the Act. Under section 220 (2), the Tribunal’s function is to hear appeals from any person aggrieved by a decision made in terms of the Act by the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade or by the Registrar of Industrial Property (BIPA).
The second function of the Tribunal under section 221 of the Act is to act as a point of reference, whereby the Registrar of IP may refer such matters involving a point of law or matters of unusual importance or complexity to the IPT for decision-making in which the Registrar is to act in accordance with the decision of the IPT.
What are the advantages of establishing an IPT?
- IP disputes are to be resolved and adjudicated at a faster and less costly route;
- IP disputes are centralised;
- IP disputes can be handled coherently on the basis of past experience; and
- Establishing an IPT will assist in developing and expanding the field of IP law.
What types of appeals can be heard by the IPT?
- The following can be submitted to the IPT for resolution:
- A decision of the Minister to authorise or terminate the compulsory license under section 57 (13 and 14) of the Act.
- A decision of the Minister for Government to exploit a patent under section 63 of the Act.
- A decision of the Minister for revocation of a patent under section 68 of the Act.
- A decision of the Registrar to grant or refuse to grant a patent of utility model rights under section 91 of the Act.
- A decision of the Registrar to grant or refuse to grant industrial design model rights under section 130 of the Act.
- A decision of the Registrar regarding the acceptance to or rejection of the registration of a trademark under section 202 of the Act.
What is the process to file a notice of appeal?
In accordance with Rule 6 of the IPT Rules a person may file a notice of appeal directly with the Secretary of the Tribunal or cause the notice to be served by the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court.
Where do appeals to the decisions/orders of the IPT lie to?
The High Court of the Republic of Namibia is a court of appeal concerning IP-related matters and hears appeals from the IPT. This is pursuant to section 228 of the Act, which provides for appeals against any decision, order or determination given by the IPT.
What is the composition of the IPT?
The IPT comprises of the following:
- The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Masuku (Chairperson)
- The Honourable Lady Justice Hannelie Prinsloo (member)
- The Honourable Acting Justice Petrus Jakobus Miller (member)
The secretary to the IPT is:
PZN building, 3 Ruhr Street, Northern Industrial Area
Tel: 264 61 299 4400
Where is the IPT seated?
Pursuant to section 220 of the Act the seat of the Tribunal is Windhoek. However, the functions may be performed at any place in Namibia, upon the discretion of the Chairperson of the Tribunal.
Where can I find the IPT Rules?
- Please click on the link to download the rules, which contains the following information:
- Signing and filing of documents
- Service of Process
- Appeal Proceedings
- Revocation Proceedings
- Proceedings related to infringement
- General rules applicable to all proceedings
- Miscellaneous and general