COVID-19: effects on IP practice in Africa and the Caribbean

Please see below a summary of disruptions at the Intellectual Property Offices and Courts in the territories that we cover, Africa and the Caribbean. We are working closely with our local offices and associates across both regions and will update the tables below as developments arise.

AFRICA

Territory

Closures / suspensions

Algeria

The first instance tribunals have been suspended although the Appeal Court is still functioning. The Registry remains open and is accepting applications at the end of each week and the examination process regarding trade mark, designs and patent matters has been resumed.

Angola

Courts and The Registry have resumed operations with minimal staff until further notice.

ARIPO

Court hearings have been suspended. The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) headquarters is closed to the public until further notice. However, the office remains operational with its staff working from home. The Registry's online service is fully operational.

Botswana

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed until further notice.

Djibouti

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains open with minimal staff.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains open with minimal staff.

Egypt

Court hearings have been suspended but administrative matters, including meeting deadlines to file an appeal to court, are still possible. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Eswatini

Court hearings have been suspended.  The Registry is now open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Ethiopia

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Gambia

Courts and The Registry have resumed operations.

Ghana

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Kenya

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains open, however the government office charged with the stamping of deeds of assignment and powers of attorney with duty is currently on total lockdown until further notice. Essential services such as the receiving and processing of applications and the subsequent issuing of the requisite certificates remain available.

Liberia

Courts and The Registry have resumed operations.

Libya

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed, but priority applications and renewals falling due during this crisis period are being accepted. No other matter can be attended to.

Lesotho

Courts are operating with limited functions. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Madagascar

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed until further notice.

Malawi

Courts and The Registry are operating with minimal staff and prioritise emergency matters only.

Mauritius

Courts and The Registry have resumed operations.

Morocco

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains open.

Namibia

Courts are open with limited functions. The Registry is closed to the public, but electronic filings remain acceptable.

Nigeria

Courts are open with limited functions. The Registry has resumed operations from 10:00am – 2:00pm with minimal staff. Online filing is available.

OAPI

Court hearings have been suspended. The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) is open, but public access to OAPI buildings is restricted. There is a post box available for users to deposit administrative or technical files.

Rwanda

Court hearings have been suspended. Although the Registry is closed, only applications, renewals, and recordals can be filed. Searches can be carried out by agents.

Seychelles

Courts and The Registry have resumed operations.

South Africa

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains closed to public although it has resumed operations with minimal staff. The CIPC online systems have been reactivated and the filing of all types of IP applications is possible, subject to delays with new applications and the prosecution of pending applications.

Sudan

The Courts and the Registry have resumed operations with minimal staff.

Tunisia

The Courts and the Registry have resumed operations with minimal staff.

Uganda

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Zimbabwe

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry (ZIPO) is closed to the public between 27 July 2020 and 7 August 2020.

The ARIPO member countries are:  Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

The OAPI member countries are:  Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic of), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo and the Union of the Comoros

 

 

CARIBBEAN

Territory

Closures / suspensions

Antigua and Barbuda

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with strict restrictions.

Bahamas

Courts have resumed operations. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff and significant delays are expected.

Barbados

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations but physical access is limited.

Belize

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations.

Bermuda

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with limited functions.

British Virgin Islands

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Cayman Islands

The Courts resumed operations. The Registry remains closed, however applications and payment of annual fees can be processed remotely.

Cuba

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed until further notice.

Grenada

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has re-opened and is fully operational.

Guyana

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations on  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Monserrat

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry remains closed, but online filing for Registrations and Renewals only is possible.

Puerto Rico

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed until further notice.

St Kitts & Nevis

Court hearings have been suspended. Registry is open only on Tuesdays and Fridays 9am - 1pm.

St Lucia

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry has resumed operations with minimal staff.

Turks & Caicos

Court hearings have been suspended. The Registry is closed until further notice.

Trinidad & Tobago

The Registry is closed, but instructions can still be sent via email, fax, or online.

Date published: 20 March 2020; updated daily
Author: Spoor & Fisher

Tags: closures Intellectual Property Offices and Courts trade marks patents Africa the Caribbean COVID-19