Enforcement

Trademark enforcement proceedings

What types of legal or administrative proceedings are available to enforce the rights of a trademark owner against an alleged infringer or dilutive use of a mark, apart from previously discussed opposition and cancellation actions? Are there specialised courts or other tribunals? Is there any provision in the criminal law regarding trademark infringement or an equivalent offence?

There is no legislation on enforcement proceedings for IP rights in Angola.

Procedural format and timing

What is the format of the infringement proceeding?

Only registration confers exclusive rights to a mark.

The following acts done without the consent of the owner of a registered mark are deemed infringement:

  • use in the course of trade in Angola of any sign that is identical or confusingly similar to the registered mark for goods or services being identical or similar to those for which the mark is registered; and
  • use in the course of trade in Angola of any sign that, owing to the identity or similarity of that sign and the mark or the affinity between the goods or services, creates in the consumer’s mind a risk of confusion, including the risk of association of the sign with the mark.

The exclusive right to a mark does not include the right for the owner to prevent a third party from using in the course of trade his or her own name or address, or any indication concerning the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, time of production of the goods or of rendering of the services, or any other characteristics of goods or services, or even the mark itself if this is necessary to indicate the intended purpose of a product or service, in particular as an accessory or spare part, provided that in any such case such use is in accordance with honest practices and good customs in industrial and commercial matters.

Not considered as infringement is use of a protected mark for goods that have been brought into the trade under the mark by the owner or with his or her consent in Angola, unless there are legitimate grounds that justify that the owner of the mark opposes the further commercialisation of the goods, in particular, if the condition of the goods has been altered or deteriorated after they were brought into the trade.

Only registration confers proprietary rights. The effect of registration therefore is attributive of ownership.

Angolan IP law does not establish the infringement proceeding.

Burden of proof

What is the burden of proof to establish infringement or dilution?

The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, who must prove that its mark has been infringed.

Standing

Who may seek a remedy for an alleged trademark violation and under what conditions? Who has standing to bring a criminal complaint?

Both the trademark owner and the licensee may seek remedies. The trademark owner must have the mark registered before the Angolan Trademarks Office and the licensee can only intervene if the registered user agreement (licence to use) is recorded before the office.

Border enforcement and foreign activities

What border enforcement measures are available to halt the import and export of infringing goods? Can activities that take place outside the country of registration support a charge of infringement or dilution?

Border enforcement measures can be conducted by the Angolan Customs Authorities to halt the import and export of infringing goods.

Only activities that take place in Angolan territory may be taken into account. However, this is not applicable to goods made outside the country from the moment that they are imported into Angola.

Discovery

What discovery or disclosure devices are permitted for obtaining evidence from an adverse party, from third parties, or from parties outside the country?

Adverse or third parties (including state entities) may be required to submit documents or exhibit goods. If they resist, a court order may be sought.

Timing

What is the typical time frame for an infringement or dilution, or related action, at the preliminary injunction and trial levels, and on appeal?

Unfortunately, there is no typical time frame for infringement or dilution actions. They are lengthy and can last for years.

Limitation period

What is the limitation period for filing an infringement action?

There is no time limit for filing an infringement action, that is, the infringement action can be filed until the infringement is occurring.

Litigation costs

What is the typical range of costs associated with an infringement or dilution action, including trial preparation, trial and appeal?

There is no schedule of official fees published for infringement or dilution actions in Angola.

Appeals

What avenues of appeal are available?

Decisions regarding an infringement or dilution action can be appealed against to the competent court.

Defences

What defences are available to a charge of infringement or dilution, or any related action?

The defendant or alleged infringer has the legal right to participate in the proceeding by responding to the complaint and submitting evidence.

Remedies

What remedies are available to a successful party in an action for infringement or dilution, etc? What criminal remedies exist?

The Angolan IP law contains provisions regarding the penalties imposed on an infringer, but is silent regarding the apportionment of monetary relief. Injunctive relief is available permanently if there is an immediate danger to the complainant.

ADR

Are ADR techniques available, commonly used and enforceable? What are the benefits and risks?

ADR techniques are not available in Angola.