It has always been the practice of the Industrial Property Institute (“IPI”) of Mozambique to prohibit the refiling of trade marks that have been finally refused, which has posed a serious obstacle to trade mark applicants who wish to refile their applications in Mozambique for strategic reasons.
Refiling provides the applicant with an opportunity to consider the options available to overcome obstacles posed by earlier trade marks, or refusals based on distinctiveness. A trade mark that exists on the register and poses a bar to the registration of the initial application may have subsequently expired, become vulnerable to removal on the basis of non-use, abandoned or simply withdrawn, and will no longer pose a bar to the applicant’s “refiled” application. On 2 September 2016, the IPI of Mozambique issued an official letter in an attempt to provide clarity on the issue of refiling. According to the official notice, applicants will now be allowed to refile trade mark applications that were previously and finally refused.
A new Mozambique Industrial Property Code was approved on 31 December 2015. The new code, published under Decree no. 47/2015, came into force on 31 March 2016 and replaced the 2006 Industrial Property Code. There are no provisions in this code that prohibit an applicant from filing an application for the registration of a trade mark that has been previously (and finally) refused by the IPI. It is important to note that refiled applications will be subjected to the same requirements and examination process as the first filed application.
Individuals and entities that have previously filed trade mark applications in Mozambique that were finally refused are advised to consider refiling such applications in an attempt to obtain adequate trade mark protection in Mozambique.