Trade and Service Marks

– The Zanzibar Industrial Property Act No. 4 of 2008, in force since July 29, 2008.
– The Zanzibar Industrial Property Regulations, published on April 17, 2015.

Membership in International Conventions

– None.


Applicant: the first user is entitled to registration.

Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: no distinction; both may apply and obtain registration.

Trademarks of foreigners: protected in the same manner as those of nationals; must have an address for service in the country.

Kinds of protection: ordinary trademarks, certification marks, series of marks, colors, sounds and scents.

Marks for services: accepted.

Novelty: the trademark applied for must not conflict with a trademark already registered. 

Definition of trademark: any sign capable of being represented graphically and which can distinguish goods or services of one undertaking from other undertakings.

Not registrable: marks which (a) are not capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of another; (b) are contrary to public order or morality; (c) are susceptible of misleading the public or trade circles, in particular as regards the geographical origin of the goods or services concerned or their nature or characteristics; (d) are identical with, imitate or contain elements of arms, flags or emblems, signals or any other symbol adopted by any State, intergovernmental organization or organization created by an international convention, unless authorized by that State or organization; (e) are identical or confusingly similar to a mark or trade name that is well-known in Zanzibar; (f) are identical to a trademark already registered or having a prior date of filing or priority belonging to another holder for the same goods or services similar to the mark which is sought to be protected and which is susceptible to mislead or create confusion. 

Collective (certification) marks: provided for and can be used by any association or persons undertaking to certify the origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristic of any goods by a mark used upon or in connection with such goods.

Classification: international (Nice Agreement), as last revised. 

Multi-class applications: are accepted.

Priority: six months according to the Paris Convention.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (simply signed);
2. 5 reproductions of the mark in black and white (for marks which claim color as a distinctive feature 5 black and white reproductions and 5 reproductions of the mark in color);
3. List of goods and services (in accordance with the International Classification);
4. A graphical reproduction of the mark when the mark consists of a sign that is not visually perceptible;
5. Priority document, if priority is claimed.

Electronic filing: available. 

Electronic signatures: are accepted (must be readable).

For a change of name:
1. Change of name certificate (simply signed), scanned copy is accepted.

For a change of address:
1. Power of attorney (simply signed), scanned copy is accepted.

Examination Procedure

Amendment of application: provided for.

Examination: formal and substantive examination. 

Opposition to application filed: must be filed within the two-month (60 days) period provided therefor after advertisement or within the extended period. The grounds are in general: (a) mark not distinctive; (b) mark likely to deceive or cause confusion; (c) mark identical to a mark already registered in respect of the same goods or description of goods or so nearly resembling such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion; (d) mark contains matter which should be disclaimed; (e) applicant not entitled to claim to be the proprietor or if the mark applied for infringes the rights of another; (f) applicant himself has no intention of using the mark; (g) applicant has no intention of using the mark as per the definition of “trademark”.

Disclaimers: available. 

Letters of consent: possible, can be simply signed.

Application kept secret: not provided for.

Appeal: appeal lies from the Registrar to the court.

Urgent registration: not provided for.

Publication: advertisements appear in the Zanzibar Official Gazette.

Correction of registration: possible as long as it does not substantially affect the identity of the trademark.

Registration, Protection

Delivery of document: official action commences approximately three months after the date of filing and the certificate is issued in paper format approximately four months after the date of advertisement, three months thereof being the opposition period.

Beginning of protection: from date of filing.

Duration: ten years, and renewable for periods of seven years thereafter.  

Term of grace for renewal: six months. 

User rights and obligation to use: a mark may be removed on the grounds of non-use.

Marking of registered goods: not required but advisable.

Text of marking: “Registered Trade Mark”.

Modification of a mark: possible if not substantially affecting its identity.

Changes in the list of goods: possible, but may not be enlarged.

Assignment: possible and only with the goodwill of the business concerned with the goods.

Licenses: no provision.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Opposition to registered marks: not provided for.

Compulsory licenses: not provided for.

Invalidation: any interested person may request the court to invalidate a registered trademark within five years from the date of issuance of the registration certificate, unless the registration was obtained in bad faith in which case the request can be filed any time. 

Validation of invalidated marks: not provided for.

Provision for restoration: a mark removed on the grounds of non-payment of renewal fees may be restored, if a good reason for non-payment can be given to the satisfaction of the Registrar.

Infringement: the owner of a registered trademark shall have the exclusive right to prevent third parties from using, in the course of trade, identical or similar marks for goods or services identical or similar to those for which the mark is registered, where such use is likely to cause confusion. The owner shall also have the right to institute court proceedings against any person who infringes the mark by using the mark without the owner’s consent.