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EU confirms Uganda's Intellectual Property Office as Africa's first trademark and design class system

30/09/2020 - 16:48
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Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) officially joined the TMclass and DesignClass on 03rd August 2020, after confirmation by the European Union Intellectual Property Organisation (EUIPO)

TMclass offers users the opportunity to search and translate goods and services to and from any of the 44 languages available, while the DesignClass enables search and translation of product indications in 28 languages. The EU trade mark classification is a vital tool to support Ugandan enterprises doing business internationally and in the European Union.

The system will enable full automation of the front office in a more interactive way that arms the client with the ability to input information and data remotely from anywhere thus delivering improved client service and accessibility, especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic that has necessitated re-thinking of service delivery platforms.

To cement the collaboration, the European Union Delegation to Uganda signed a front Office license agreement with URSB under the EUIPO framework of existing cooperation with Uganda on trade and investments, on September 4, led by the EU Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Attilio Pacifici. The Registrar General, Bemanya Twebaze signed on behalf of URSB. This remarkable achievement marks an important step in collaboration between URSB and EUIPO.

This agreement traces its beginnings to a workshop in November 2019, organized by the EUIPO for the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and Intellectual Property Offices of Member States of ARIPO whose objective was to provide for a collaborative platform that promotes and reinforces cooperation with IP Offices and sharing of knowledge and experience through tools developed under the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Bemanya Twebaze said the partnership was outstanding for Uganda’s intellectual property sector, especially for the growing creative industry that needed protection. "The process leading up to this agreement has been interactive and the engagements that will follow when this is done herald a greater opportunity for us as an office to improve our customer experience and service delivery but also to recognize the benefits of continued cooperation with our partners the EU through the EUIPO," he said.

Ambassador Atttilio Pacifici on his part confirmed the importance of this new collaboration. "The EU Delegation began in 2018 an effort to promote partnerships between European and Ugandan private sector and key selected public actors with a view of improving the way we do business together and attract more investments. This led to the 1st Uganda-Europe Business Forum earlier this year and the launch of the Sustainable Business for Uganda initiative. The new Partnership struck today between EUIPO and URSB is an important step in that process. We commend both parties for starting this long-term collaboration and confirm the EU Delegation's support to this effort."

URSB’s bilateral cooperation with the EUIPO will help in project identification, protection and promotion of Geographical Indications as well as acquisition, customisation and deployment of EUIPO’s Front Office Tool, Trademark Class and Design Class tools to enhance filing and classification activities. 

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