Legal Basis

Local

What are the local enactments governing trademark registration in Ghana?

  • Trade Marks Act, 2004 (Act 664), entry into force (Gazette Notification) February 6, 2004. (Implementing Regulations are yet to be promulgated.)
  • Trademarks (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 876), entry into force July 25, 2014.
  • Trade Marks Regulations, 1970 (L.I. 667).

International

What are the main international treaties signed by the Republic of Ghana in respect of trademarks?

  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since June 12, 1976.
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act of July 14, 1967, since September 28, 1976.
  • WTO's TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
  • Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, since September 16, 2008.

Filing and Registration

Filing Procedure

Who can file for trademark applications in Ghana?

Any individual or legal entity claiming to be the proprietor of a mark being used or proposed to be used may apply for trademark registration in Ghana. Applicants not resident or not having their principal place of business in Ghana must be represented by a legal practitioner resident and practicing in Ghana.  There are no special provisions for foreigners. They are protected in the same manner as those of nationals.

What marks are registrable in Ghana?

Any sign or combination of signs capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from the goods or services of other undertakings including words such as personal names, letters, numerals and figurative element. Both collective and service marks are registrable in Ghana.

What marks are not registrable in Ghana?

  • trade names;
  • marks contrary to public order or morality;
  •  marks likely to mislead the public or trade circles regarding geographical origin, the nature or the characteristics of the goods or services;
  • marks which are identical to or an imitation of state emblems, flags, etc. (without consent);
  • marks conflicting with prior rights for same goods or services or closely related goods or services or marks so resembling such marks as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.

Do agents filing for registration of a mark on behalf of the owner require power of attorney? If so, is notarization or legalization required?

Agents need a signed power of attorney from the owner of the trademark or Principal. No notarization or legalization is required.

What Information and Documentation must be submitted in a trademark registration application?

  • Applicant’s full name, address and nationality;
  • The full name and address of authorised attorney
  • The full name and address of an addressee for documents to be served (usually same as the address of the attorney);
  • A representation of the mark;
  • The class of goods and services and its description.
  • If priority is claimed, the number, date and country of the mark on which the priority is based;
  • Disclaimer as to the exclusive use where necessary.

In the case of marks not written in English, the application must include the mark’s translation in English. 

What documents are required for registration?

  • Power of attorney;
  • The logo or mark to be registered;
  • The international class of goods and services;
  • Applicant’s name and address.

What rules govern the representation of the mark in the application?

Trademarks must be represented graphically and the representation must be clear and precise.

Is electronic filing available?

No, electronic filing is not available for trademarks applications in Ghana.

What are the application fees?

The official filing fee for trademarks per mark per class in Ghana is US $510.00. The   breakdown is as follows:

  • Search (trademark availability search) – US $110.00
  • Application -US $200.00
  • Issuance of certificate – US $200.00

Registration

When does a trademark registration formally come into effect?

The trademark registration formally comes into effect when the Trademark Registrar registers the trade mark, publish a reference to the registration and issue the applicant with a certificate of registration. However, the applicant’s trademark is protected from the date of filing of the application. Registration of a trademark covers only Ghana.

What is the timeline for registration?

It takes about two years for trademarks to be registered in Ghana.

Priority

How are priority rights claimed?

Priority may be claimed as in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act of July 14, 1967.

Searches

Are trademark searches a requirement prior to filing? If so, what procedures and fees apply?

Trademark searches are not a requirement prior to filing. However, it is advisable to conduct an availability search for the trademark to be filed to avoid the risk of possible objections. The fee for trademark searches in Ghana is US$110.00. The search is conducted by sending a letter to the Registrar of trademarks requesting for the Registrar to conduct a search on the trademark in the proposed class of goods and services.

Examination and Protection

Examination

What factors does the Trademark Registry consider in its examination of the application?

The Trademark Registry examines both the formal and substantive requirements.

How are objections to trademark applications communicated by the Trademark Registry?

Any objection to the trademark are communicated by official letters.

What are the rules governing opposition of trademark applications?

Oppositions against a trademark application may be filed by any interested party within two months from the date of advertisement of the application or within such extended period as shall be granted by the Registrar on request.

Protection

What is the term of protection for a trademark?

The term of protection for a trademark in Ghana is ten years.

Are trademarks renewable in Ghana?

The registration of a trade mark may be renewed for consecutive periods of ten years upon payment of the fee prescribed for renewal.  A grace period of six months is allowed for the late payment of the renewal fee upon payment of the prescribed surcharge.

What are the rights conferred by registration?

The registered owner may institute court action against any person who infringes a registered trademark by using it without permission. The rights extend to use of a sign similar to the registered mark and use in relation to similar goods or services where confusion may arise in the public.

What penalties can be sanctioned against an infringer?

Both civil and criminal penalties.

Assignment

What is the procedure for assigning a registered trademark?

 Assignment of a trademark or of an application for registration of a trademark must be filed with the Registrar for recordal in order to affect a third party.

Licenses

What is the procedure for licensing a registered mark?

License concerning the registration of a trademark or an application for registration must be submitted to the Registrar who shall record the license and publish a reference to it. License contracts shall not be valid against third parties until filed with the Registrar. 

Others

Use

Are there any rules regarding the use of trademarks in Ghana?

Yes, a registered mark may be removed from the Register on request to the Registrar by any person interested, on the grounds that up to one month before the date of the request, a continuous period of five years or longer has elapsed during which there was no use of the mark by the registered owner or a licensee. 

Rectification

Can trademark applications be rectified?

Rectification or correction of Register may be made upon request to the Registrar and the Registrar may correct errors in any document filed or any entry made under the Act.

 Invalidation

 Invalidation of a trademark is by the High Court.