Uganda: Trademark Registration In Uganda

Last Updated: 9 September 2016
Article by Ninsiima Irene

Registration requirements

Registration  of trademarks in Uganda is enabled by the Principal Legislation on trademarks in Uganda the Trademarks Act No.7 of 2010 that repealed the Trademarks Act  Cap 217 and Chapter 37 of the Penal Code Act  Cap 120; and its regulations, the Trademark Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 58 of 2012.

There are several types of marks that qualify for registrability. These include trademarks; certification marks; identical or resembling trademarks; associated trademarks; series of trademarks, and defensive trademarks. A trademark is defined under the Act to mean a sign or mark or combination of signs or marks capable of being represented graphically and capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking. A sign or mark is defined under the Act to include any word, symbol, slogan, logo, sound, smell, colour, brand label, name, signature, letter, numeral, or any combination of them.

The Trademarks Act entitles any person who claims to be the owner of a trademark used or proposed to be used to apply for its registration. This may be a natural person or entity. Goods and services are classified in accordance with the third schedule to the Trademark Regulations 2012 that make reference to the 9th Edition of the International Classification of Goods and Services for the purposes of the registration of marks under the Nice Agreement of June 15 1957 (as revised) Published by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1992, including the explanatory notes and lists of goods and services published therein.

Registration may be effected in Part A or Part B which have different requirements. In order to have a trademark registered in part A, it must consist the name of the company, individual or firm represented in a particular manner, the signature of the applicant for registration or of some predecessor in business, an invented word or words, a word or words having no direct reference to the character or the quality of the goods or services, and not being according to its ordinary signification, a geographical name of surname. The word must be distinctive and there must be adduced evidence of distinctiveness.

Distinctiveness means in the case of a trademark relating to goods, adapted in relation to the goods in respect of which the trademark is registered or proposed to be registered, to distinguish goods with which the owner of a trademark is or may be connected, in the course of trade, from goods in the case of which no connection subsists; or in the case of a trademark relating to services, adapted in relation to the services in respect of which the trademark is registered or proposed to be registered, to distinguish services with which the owner of the trade mark is or may be connected in the course of trade, from services with the provision of which he or she is not connected.

Registration in Part B requires that the trademark shall be capable, in relation to the goods in respect of which it is registered or proposed to be registered, of distinguishing goods with which the owner of the trademark is or may be connected in the course of trade from goods in the case where no connection subsists. A trademark relating to services to be registered in Part B must be capable, in relation to services in respect of which it is registered or proposed to be registered, of distinguishing services with the provision of which the owner of the mark is or may be connected in the course of business from services the provision of which he or she is not so connected. An applicant is free to seek the preliminary advice of the registrar on distinctiveness before making an application. Additionally for a trademark to be registered in either Part A or B, it must be capable of graphical representation.

The law also outlines unregistrable trademarks; the registrar may refuse to accept any application upon which any of the following appear—

  1. the words "patent", "patented", "by letters patent", "registered", "registered trade mark", "registered design", "copyright", "certified", "guaranteed", "to counterfeit this is a forgery" or words to like effect;
  1. the words "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross" and representations of the Geneva and other crosses in red, or of the Swiss federal cross in white on a red ground or silver on a red ground, or such representations in a similar colour or colours;
  1. representations of the armorial ensigns of Uganda or any device so nearly resembling them as to be likely to lead to mistake, or of the national flag, or any words, letters, or devices likely to lead persons to think that the applicant has Government patronage or authorization; and
  1. a representation of armorial bearings, insignia, a decoration or a flag of any state, administration, city, town, place, society, body corporate, institution or person.

The law also restricts registration of the following marks; trademarks likely to deceive or would be contrary to law, morality or any scandalous design; a trademark consisting of a word commonly used and accepted as a name of a single chemical element or compound; a shape that results from the nature of the goods themselves; the shape of goods that is necessary to obtain a technical result and the shape that gives substantial value to the goods. The law also prohibits registration of trademarks that are identical and resembling trademarks already on the register by a different owner, subject to exceptions.

Effect of registration

Registration confers the exclusive right to use the mark and the right to act in case of infringement. A registered owner also acquires a right to assign his or her trademark. Additionally, in all proceedings relating to a registered trademark, the fact that a person is registered as owner of a trademark is prima facie evidence of validity of the original registration of the trademark and of all subsequent assignments and transmissions.  A person may not institute proceedings to prevent or recover damages for trade mark infringement unless his trade mark is registered. However   an unregistered owner has a right to bring an action for passing off at common law.

The law does not make registration of trademarks compulsory.  Mandatory registration comes into play where an opposition has been made to the registration of a trade mark on grounds of prior registration in the country of origin. The person or entity making the opposition must make an undertaking to register the trademark with in a given period of time and must furnish such undertaking with the registrar of trademarks at the time of filling the opposition that he or she will take all the necessary steps to effect registration of that trademark registered in the country of origin with the registrar of trademarks.

Term of registration

Registration of a trademark lasts for a period of seven (7) years from the application filing date. Registration is renewable every ten (10) years upon payment of a prescribed fee.

Renewal of registration

Renewal is a pre-condition for the continuation of rights conferred by the original registration. If no fees for renewal are paid with in the prescribed time, the trademark is removed from the register. The law requires renewal to be made at any time before the expiration of the last registration of the trademark.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.