The Act provides for the registration of patents, trademarks, designs, utility models and its principal features are summarized below.
2) Novelty is to be determined on a world-wide absolute basis so that anything that has been "disclosed to the public" anywhere in the world before the filing date or a validly claimed priority date is destructive of novelty. There is, however, a one year grace period running back from the filing date or priority date for disclosures by the inventor or disclosures by a third party who obtained the disclosed information directly or indirectly from the inventor.
3)The statute calls for full examination of patent applications but gives the Minister of Commerce and Industry the power to promulgate regulations excusing the Patent Office from carrying out examinations of novelty or inventive step in defined areas of subject matter.
4) Subject to the payment of annual maintenance fees, the term of a patent will be twenty years from its filing date.
5) Compulsory licenses may be granted on terms consistent with the Paris Convention.
6) Patents granted under the previous legislation will remain in force but will be subject to the payment of maintenance fees.
7) Prior to the new law, British patents extended automatically to Botswana. This provision has been repealed. However, to protect those who formerly had rights in Botswana under these provisions, up to August 26, 1998, the owners of British patents or applications may file corresponding applications in Botswana which will receive the same effective filing date and priority date as such British patents or applications.
2) Many of the provisions relating to patents also apply to industrial designs. The main differences are that novelty for a design is determined only on the basis of printed documents and what is available in tangible form.
3) Designs are initially registered for a period of five years and are renewable for two further five-year periods.
4) Design protection in Botswana was formerly dependent upon registration in the United Kingdom and all British design registrations extended automatically to Botswana. This provision has been repealed. However, to protect those who formerly had rights in Botswana under these provisions, up to August 26, 1998, the owners of British design registrations or applications for such registration may file corresponding applications in Botswana which will receive the same effective filing date and priority date as such British application or registration.
2) Marks may not be registered if they are: incapable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise or business from those of another, contrary to public order or morality, likely to mislead the public or trade circles, identical or confusingly similar to, or a translation of, a mark or trade name which is well known in Botswana for identical or similar goods or services of another enterprise.
3) Protection for well-known marks has been introduced. Owners of such marks, even though not registered in Botswana, may object to similar marks for similar goods or services. Owners of marks which are well-known and registered in Botswana may object to similar marks for dissimilar goods or services.
4) It is no longer necessary to base a Botswana trademark application on a British or South African registration.
5) Applications are published for opposition purposes and opposition proceedings may be instituted within 3 months from publication.
6) Trademark registrations are subject to cancellation for unjustified non-use for any continuous period of 3 or more years.
7) Collective marks and service marks may be registered.
8) Assignments and license agreements, which require effective quality control provisions, must be recorded with the Trademark Office to be effective against third parties.
9) As reported in our July 1997 Newsletter (N.S. 188), Botswana is a member state of ARIPO (the African Regional Industrial Property Organization). A patent, design or mark registered by ARIPO, in accordance with the Banjul Protocol and with respect to which Botswana is a designated state, will enjoy the same protection in Botswana as a patent, design or mark registered under the Industrial Property Act, unless the Registrar informs ARIPO of a decision to the contrary.