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.

Law No. 31/2009 on the Protection of Intellectual Property, which came into operation on 14 December 2009, currently deals with the registration and enforcement of trade marks in Rwanda. Trade marks that were filed in terms of the previous trade mark legislation, i.e. trade marks with a filing date of 13 December 2009 or older, must be renewed on or before 14 December 2019 (i.e. 10 years after the implementation date of the current law), in order to ensure that those marks remain valid and enforceable. Relevant marks that are not renewed timeously, will be deemed abandoned.

In terms of the current law, a trade mark registration shall have effect for a period of 10 years, calculated from the filing date of the relevant mark. As such, trade marks filed on or after 14 December 2009 may, at the option of the trade mark holder, be renewed on the tenth anniversary of the filing date, and consecutive ten-year intervals thereafter.