(WIPO code: ET) (last revised November 2022)

by KISCH IP, Sandton, South Africa

General Information


1,129,000 sq. km.


113,656,596 (2022).


Addis Ababa, with 5.228 million inhabitants (2022).


Amharic (official), English as the international language, Arabic.




Food processing, chemicals, textiles.


Motor vehicles, machinery, petroleum products, wheat, flour, medical and pharmaceutical products, rubber articles, yarns, textiles.


Coffee, oilseeds, hides and skins, fresh fruits and nuts, salt.

General Remarks

After the dethronement of the last emperor Haile Selassie I, the popular revolution of 1974, inaugurated a period of far-reaching transformation in the country’s political, economic and social life. Some of the major achievements were the nationalization of all rural land and the distribution of land among millions of landless peasants, the nationalization of urban land and extra houses, of large and medium industrial establishments and financial institutions. This created the foundation of the new socio-economy based on socialist ownership of the means of production and the adoption of the New Democratic Revolution (N.D.R.) Program for the country’s overall developments in socialist principles.

In 1994, Ethiopia faced severe famine as a result of drought. A new constitution was ratified December 8, 1994, and multi-party general elections held in 1995.

Administrative divisions: Ethiopia is a federal state subdivided into ethno-linguistically based regional states and chartered cities. There are two chartered cities being the country’s capital Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa and nine regional states, which are further subdivided into districts and subdistricts. The smallest administrative units are Urban Dwellers Association in towns and Peasants Association in rural communities and settlements. All the administrative division units are under the Ministry of Interior.

Administration of justice: justice is administered by a regular court as agencies of state of power and self-management court (people’s tribunals). Courts are independent in their performance of their judicial functions and administration of justice. Each administrative division has a hierarchy of courts. There are Kebele Courts, Peasant Association Courts, Wereda, Awraja Court, High Court and Supreme Court in Addis Ababa with circuit judges of Supreme Court going around the administrative regions from time to time.


During the five-year occupation of Ethiopia by Italy (1936-1941), Italian patent and trademark legislation was introduced to the country.

In Eritrea (which was one of the 14 former provinces of Ethiopia, and who declared its independence on May 24, 1993), where the Italian occupation lasted for more than a half century, the patent and trademark laws had a deeper root. The laws then introduced were: Law of August 30, 1868, No. 4577, regarding trademark and design of industry; Law of October 30, 1859, No. 3731; Law of June 29, 1939, No. 1127, and Rules of February 5, 1940, No. 244, and subsequent amendments.

Procedurally, the above legislation in some part of the country, are applied, but the substantive laws applied for the protection of the right of industrial property are Article 674 of the Ethiopian Penal Code, Article 2057 of the Civil Code and Articles 133-134 of the Commercial Code.

A new Trademark Law (Proclamation No. 501/2006) was issued on July 7, 2006 in the Federal Negarit Gazeta; the long-awaited Implementing Regulations were published on December 24, 2012. There is also a Trademark Examination Manual No. 03/2020 which was drafted and signed by the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Authority in 2020. Owners of trademarks registered in Ethiopia prior to July 7, 2006 had to file new applications by December 18, 2014.