Previously, under the old 1963 Act, Rwandan trade marks were registered indefinitely (i.e. there was no need to renew a trade mark registration).
With the introduction of Law no. 31 of 2009, the position has changed. A Rwandan trade mark registration is valid for a 10 year period from the date of filing and is, thereafter, renewable for like periods. The Rwandan Registry allows for a grace period of 10 months following the expiry of a mark, within which to apply for the late renewal of a mark, subject to the payment of a penalty fee.
According to the transitional provisions of Law no. 31 of 2009, a trade mark registered under the Old 1963 Act will remain valid and must be considered to have been granted under the 2009 Act.
A trade mark registered under the Old 1963 Act must be renewed with 10 years of the date on which the 2009 Act came into force i.e. 14 December 2009. Proprietors of trade marks registered under the Old 1963 Act are encouraged to renew their registrations before the deadline of 14 December 2019 should they wish to maintain their rights in this country.
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.