Legal Update

The Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench on Cassation File No 193292 on August 5,2021 read on August 16,2021 rendered a binding decision on the issue of how the principle of reciprocity should be interpreted for trade mark registration and protection for foreign companies or foreigners in Ethiopia. The judgment bases itself on Trade Mark Registration and Protection Proclamation No 501/2006 Articles 3 and Article 13 and Trade Mark Registration and Protection Council of Ministers Regulation No 273/2012 Article 27 Sub-Article 2. The articles above provide the fact that foreigners shall have the same rights and obligations as Ethiopians under the Proclamation so long as the principle of reciprocity is met or in accordance with any treaty that Ethiopia is a party to. The procedure for filing opposition to registration of trademarks is also included. The bench concluded that the principle of reciprocity under Article 3 of the Proclamation should be interpreted in the following manner: ‘if a foreign country does not provide similar registration and protection of trademarks for Ethiopians as it provides for its own citizens, then those foreigners from those countries cannot ask for registration and get protection of their trademark and related rights in Ethiopia’. This interpretation of the principle of reciprocity by the Cassation Bench is a binding interpretation of the law for both the Federal and Regional Courts of Ethiopia as per Federal Court Establishment Proclamation No 1234/2020 Article 10(2) from the date the decision is rendered.…/%e1%8a%a0%e1%89%b6-%e1%8a%a0%e1…

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