The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO), in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), has officially adopted an online trade mark filing system. This development follows an agreement reached between EIPO and WIPO to modernise the intellectual property structures in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has performed well economically and replaced Kenya as East Africa's largest economy in 2017. The government's commitment to economic diversification has prompted a review of the laws and processes that will permit further growth.
It is expected that the new system will change the culture of doing business and obtaining trade mark registrations in Ethiopia, and that the reduced reliance on hard copy records will improve the efficiency of the EIPO overall.
The online system presently only facilitates the filing of applications for the registration of trade marks. This means that the prescribed fees and original supporting documents such as Powers of Attorney, which are still required, will need to be presented at the Registry by an agent once the online application has been reviewed and approved by an examining officer.
It is hoped that the online filing system will contribute to the issuing of more accurate trade mark registration certificates. The very first online trade mark application was filed by Adams & Adams on 8 April 2019.
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