Trademark registration is the surest way to protect your service, product or brand as you start your business in Ghana.
Trademark is a symbol, words or group of words that serves as an intellectual property of a company and represents the company/brand. In Ghana, there are local laws that govern the registration of trademarks. These laws are Trademark Regulations, 1970 (L.I 667), Trademarks (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 876) and Trademark Act, 2004 (Act 664). Additionally, Ghana has signed the following treaties regarding trademarks;
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
- Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization
- WTO’s TRIPS Agreement
- Protocols Relating to the Madrid Agreement on International Registration of Marks
What is the cost of registering a trademark in Ghana?
In Ghana, the official fee for the filing of a trademark application is US$615 or its Cedi Equivalent. The breakdown of the fee is stated below;
· Trademark Name Search -US$135
· Application fees-US$240
· Issuance of Certificate – US$240
Who is eligible to register a trademark in Ghana?
Trademark registration in Ghana is not exclusively for Ghanaians. In other words, both Ghanaians and Foreigners are eligible to register trademarks. However, Non-resident foreigners (individuals or corporate bodies) will require a resident legal practitioner practising in Ghana to file the trademark application on their behalf. In this instance, the non-resident foreigner will be required to issue a notarized Power of Attorney to the legal officer to enable him/her to file the trademark application. Both Ghanaians and Foreigners pay the same cost of registration.
What are the procedures for trademark registration in Ghana?
The following are the steps for trademark registration;
STEP 1 – Trademark Name Search
The first step is to conduct a name search before you commence the registration. This helps to determine the availability of a trademark name. Furthermore, name search ensures that no similar or identical trademark that have been either registered or pending registration.
STEP 2- Complete Trademark Form No. 2
Trademark Form No. 2 is the form used to file for the application. The following information is required to complete the form;
- Name of Company
- Business Activity
- Principal place of business
- The class of goods and services and its description
After you have have completed Form No. 2, the next step is to attach four (4) representations of the trademark to the forms. The representations are the printed colored copies of the design or the trademark name of the service or product you intend to register.
In the instance where the application is being done on behalf of a foreigner, the following will be required;
- Full name and the address of the authorised attorney
- Notarised Power of Attorney
- Application letter to the Registrar
After that, you proceed to make payment at the in-house bank at the Registrar General’s Department and submit the receipt and documents at the Registry.
STEP 3- Examining of Application Documents
After submission of the application, the trademark office will review the documents to ensure it conforms to the requirements spelt out in the Trademarks Act, 2004, Act 664.
STEP 4-Acknowledgement Letter
Within a week after application, the Registrar will issue an acknowledgement letter to the applicant to confirm the acceptance of the trademark application.
STEP 5-Publication and Opposition of Trademark
Within a period of 18 months after acceptance of the application, the trademark name will be published in the Industrial Trade Marks Bulletin (Journal) for 2 months. Within the 2 months period, any interested person may file for a notice of opposition to the registration in a prescribed manner. The objection or opposition to a trademark registration is done by writing an official letter giving cogent reasons.
STEP 6- Certification of Trademark
A certificate will be issued to an applicant after a period of 2 years where there are no opposition to the approved trademark. This certificate is valid for 10 years and renewable every 5 years.
Additionally note that, a trademark which has not be used for a period of 5 years after registration may be subject to cancellation.
What are the Benefits of Trademark registration?
Registering your trademark protects your product or service from competitors. A trademark will be protected once the applicant tenders in the application and it is dully acknowledged. Therefore, no similar or same trademark application will be accepted from another applicant. Hence, it will be protected until the application has been reviewed and accepted by the trademark office.
READ ALSO: What You Need to Know about Company Registration
Is my product protected outside Ghana, after trademark registration?
Trademarks registered in Ghana gives protection only in Ghana.
To be enjoy protection beyond Ghana for your trademark, the following options may be considered.
The above processes can be done by a Ghanaian or any national resident in Ghana.
First, The Madrid system is the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world.
Secondly, The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states. ARIPO has mandate in patent and other intellectual property matters. The ARIPO trademark system is governed under the Banjul Protocol on marks. This Protocol is currently operational in 10 of the 19 Member States.
In conclusion, a company’s beliefs, brand, purpose or vision can be communicated through a trademark. Trademark is very important as it makes one’s product or services distinct from its competitors. Secondly, it increases the company’s value to potential clients or customers as it protects one from counterfeit products. It is therefore advisable to register your trademark to create a unique brand amongst your competitors.
What has been your experience in registering your trademark in Ghana ? How has this write-up helped you navigate the process? We will be happy to hear from you.