Burundi and Rwanda – renewals are due

One of the benefits of trade marks, compared to other forms of intellectual property like patents and copyright, is that a trade mark can be protected in perpetuity.  However, in order for this to be possible, the following conditions have to be met:

  1. The trade mark is used, so that it is not removed on the basis on non-use; and
  2. The trade mark is renewed every 10 years, or any other period determined by the law in each territory.

With regards to renewals, there are countries where trade mark registrations were previously protected in perpetuity without the filing of a trade mark renewal being necessary, for example Burundi and Rwanda.  The law in both these countries were amended in 2009 and this resulted in the filing of renewals being a requirement in both countries.   Proprietors were granted ten years in which to file renewal applications for trademarks filed prior to 2009.  Any trade mark that is not renewed by the deadline will result in the proprietor losing the rights to the trade mark, therefore, it is very important that the renewals are filed in time, before the renewal due date.

In Burundi, trademarks filed before 28 July 2009, have to be renewed by 28 July 2019.  Once renewed, the trade mark registrations will fall due for renewal every 10 years from the date the renewal application was filed.  

In Rwanda, trademarks filed before 14 December 2009, have to be renewed by 14 December 2019.  Filing the renewal application before 14 December 2019, will not shorten the ten-year renewal period.  Therefore, the trade mark registrations will fall due for renewal again on 14 December 2029 and every 10 years thereafter.

Trade marks filed after the amendment of the law in both countries, will fall due for renewal every 10 years from the date of application.

The Registry will have a high volume of renewal applications to process closer to the renewal deadline, which may result in delays with issuance of the renewal certificates. Therefore, it is advisable for the renewal applications to be filed as soon as possible.