On 25 September 2018, the Government of Malawi deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with WIPO’s Director General, making Malawi the 102nd member of the Madryd System. The Protocol entered into force for Malawi on 25 December 2018.
Starting 25 december 2018, companies and trademark owners can seek trademark protection in Malawi through Madrid System by filing a single International trademark application.
Malawi has a population of over 18 million, with a growth rate of 3.32%, according to 2016 estimates. The main agricultural products of Malawi include tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats. The main industries are tobacco, tea and sugar processing, sawmill products, cement and consumer goods.
In 2018, the Trademark Bill officially became law on 1 October 2018, in the form of the Trademarks Act, 2 of 2018. The Act brings many welcome changes:
- The concept of a trade mark makes reference to a ‘non-visual sign’ that is ‘sufficiently described in a clear, precise, intelligible and objective manner’, and that is capable of distinguishing.
- Protection for services is now possible.
- Earlier registrations covering similar goods or services, as well as well-known marks, constitute relative grounds for refusal.
- The infringement right extends to use in relation to similar goods or services.
- There validity and renewal terms are of 10 years.
- Registrations can be cancelled on the basis of five years non-use.
Please contact us for further information.