Designs and Models

– Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property (Law No. 31/2009) dated October 26, 2009, published on December 14, 2009.
– Ministerial Order No. 24 of March 17, 2016, determining the fees payable for registration services of intellectual property.
– Ministerial Order No. 07/10/Minicom of August 25, 2010, determining structure and functioning of the Commission of Appeal in charge of settling industrial property disputes.

Membership in International Conventions

– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since February 3, 1984.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since March 1, 1984.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since May 22, 1996.
– Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Geneva Act, since August 31, 2011.
– ARIPO, Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs, since September 24, 2011.

Filing, Protection

Applicant: the inventor or his duly authorized assignee. 

Applicants not living in the country: where an applicant’s ordinary residence or principal place of business is outside Rwanda, he shall be represented by an authorized industrial property agent resident and practicing in Rwanda. 

Not registrable: industrial designs and models contrary to public order or morality may not be registered.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (signed, with company’s seal, and notarized if foreign applicant);
2. 1 copy of drawings or representations of the design, signed by the applicant and lodged in a sealed envelope or package;
3. An indication of the kind of products for which the industrial design or model is intended to be used.

For a change of name:
1. Certificate of change of name, with a verified English or French translation;
2. Power of attorney, notarized.

For a change of address:
1. Power of attorney, notarized.

Examination procedure: a filing receipt indicating the day and hour of filing is issued immediately after application is made. No guarantee is given as to the novelty of the design.

Opposition: there is no provision in the law governing opposition to design applications.

Delivery of document: the registration certificate is issued in paper format.

Duration – extension: fifteen years from the filing date, subject to renewal at the ends of the fifth and tenth years.

Marking: marking of articles protected by the design is not compulsory.

Infringement: infringement actions may be brought before the tribunal of first instance against any party manufacturing, selling or importing for commercial purposes items registered as designs, or performing any acts which make infringement likely to occur.

Use: the law does not indicate that use is compulsory.

Assignment: an assignment must be registered before it is valid against third parties. Requirements for registration of an assignment: (a) deed of assignment or certified copy thereof, together with a verified translation into English or French, if it is in another language; (b) power of attorney (not legalized).