DRC

Trade Mark

Forms part of

No
ARIPO
No
OAPI
No
MADRID
Yes
SERVICE CLASSES
Yes
NICE CLASSIFICATION
NA
WELL-KNOWN TRADE MARKS RECOGNISED?

No specific provision

OAPI

ARIPO

International Arrangements

DRC is a party to the Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property and it is possible to claim priority under the Paris Convention.

Classification

DRC follows a multi-class filing system and recognises both goods and services classes in terms of the Nice Classification.

Registration Procedure

The total time from filing to registration is approximately 18 months. Trade mark applications are examined for compliance with formal and substantive requirements and are published in the official gazette after acceptance. There is no provision for opposition proceedings, however an interested party, including the Public Minister, may invoke the nullity (in other words, apply for cancellation) of a mark on the ground that it should not have been registered in the first place.

Common Law and Well-Known Trade Marks

DRC is a first to file jurisdiction and common law trade mark rights are not recognised, except in limited and exceptional cases. Well-known trade marks are also not specifically recognised in the DRC.

Duration of Registration, Renewal and Non-Use

Trade mark registrations are valid for 10 years from the date of filing and may be renewed indefinitely for 10-year periods thereafter.

A registered trade mark may be cancelled on action by an interested party if it has not been used for a continuous period of 3 years after the date of registration.

Customs Recordal

Customs recordals are not possible.

Patent

Forms part of

No
ARIPO
No
OAPI
Yes
PARIS CONVENTION
No
PCT

OAPI

ARIPO

International Arrangements

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; and
  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Types of Patents

  • Patents of invention;
  • Patents of addition (improvement to an invention described under an existing patent); and
  • Patents of importation (i.e. an article that is patented under the laws of another jurisdiction may be extended to the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Novelty Requirements

Absolute novelty applies.

Grace Period/Prior knowledge

There is a six-month grace period.  The novelty of an invention will not be destroyed by the disclosure of the invention within six months prior to the filing date on account of:

  • an evident abuse in relation to the applicant or their predecessor in title;
  • or the display of the invention by the applicant or their predecessor in title at an official or officially recognised exhibition.

Examination procedure

Patent applications are examined as to compliance with formal requirements only; i.e. the novel and inventive merit of the invention is not assessed.

Duration & Maintenance

Patents are valid for twenty years from the date of filing the patent application.  Importantly, patents pertaining to a medicament endures for fifteen years only.

Annual renewal fees are due from the third year from the date of filing of the patent application and are payable in advance.  There is a six-month grace period for affecting late payment of the annual renewal fees.

Working Requirement

A patented invention must be worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  “Work” means “effective technical exploitation”.  A patent of invention or patent of addition should be worked within five years from the filing date or three years from the date of grant, whichever is later.

Design

Forms part of

No
ARIPO
No
OAPI
Yes
PARIS CONVENTION

OAPI

ARIPO

International Arrangements

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; and
  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Types of Designs

An industrial design is defined as:

  1. any combination of lines and/or colours intended to give a special appearance to any object of industry or handicraft.
  2. any three-dimensional shape, whether or not associated with colours and any object of industry or handicraft that may serve as a pattern for the manufacture of other articles and is distinguished from similar objects or shapes either by a different recognisable configuration which gives the shape a novel character or by one or more outer effects which give it a specific novel appearance.

Classification

The Locarno International Classification is used.

Novelty Requirements

Absolute novelty applies.

Grace Period/Prior knowledge

There is a six-month grace period.  The novelty of a design will not be destroyed by the disclosure of the design within six months prior to the filing date on account of:

  • an evident abuse in relation to the applicant or their predecessor in title;
  • or the display of the design by the applicant or their predecessor in title at an official or officially recognised exhibition.

Examination procedure

Design applications are examined as to compliance with formal requirements only; i.e. the novelty of the design is not assessed.

Duration & Maintenance

A design is valid for five years from the filing date and may be renewed for a further five-year period; i.e. the maximum term of a design is ten years.

Working requirement

A design may not be renewed for another five years if same was not worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.