The new Malawi Act (cited as “Trademarks Act, 2018”) that was published on 2nd February this year is made of 83 Sections and repeals the existing Trademarks Act of 1957.
The Act caters for a number of fields that were not or poorly covered by the Act of 1957. Among those fields are the protection of service marks, registration of collective marks, certification marks and Geographical Indications, to mention but a few. The Act provides also for criminal offences that may attract fines and/or imprisonment up to ten (10) years in cases of infringement.
Noteworthy, the Act has formally domesticated the Banjul Protocol on Marks in the framework of ARIPO. Section 60 under Part IX of the Act (International Registration of Trademarks) stipulates that “Registration of trademarks in Malawi pursuant to the Banjul Protocol shall be made in accordance with the Third Schedule hereto”.
The Third Schedule hereto referred sets out the procedures relating to ARIPO trademarks. The Schedule provides among other things that “An application in which Malawi is a designated state which is accepted by the Trademarks Office (established by the Act) shall be registered by the Office (ARIPO Office) and published as accepted by Malawi in the ARIPO Journal”.
The Act can be consulted on ARIPO website on the following link: http://www.aripo.org/images/MS_Legislations/Malawi/Trademarks-Act-2018.pdf