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We Need Regional Body To Combat Illicit Trade

Published in Brand Protection Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:25


Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) inspectors supervising the loading of imported substandard goods 

at Rodolo Customs Bond in Mbale recently. Dr John Akoten, the acting executive director of the Kenya Anti-

Counterfeit Agency believes East Africa should be able to work together to kick-out counterfeit goods from the region. FILE PHOTO

By Jonathan Adengo


Briefly tell us what counterfeits are?

Counterfeits are an infringement of intellectual property. All the intellectual property such as trademarks and copy rights are used by somebody in the course of business without the authority of the owner are found to be counterfeits. They are goods which mimic the original product. 

The underlining factor is that the mark has to be registered by an institution. For example in Kenya there is the Kenya Intellectual Property Institution. Here there is Uganda Registration Service Bureau and for the international one, we have the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

8th December , 2016

After a series of assessment, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has recognised 5 laboratories to provide product testing services aimed at easing doing business in Uganda.

This implies that the laboratories are competent to test and issue results that may be used by UNBS in product certification and its other regulatory activities in a bid to reduce the workload in the institution’s laboratories and consequently making trade faster and smoother.

The move is in line with the UNBS Laboratory Recognition Scheme established to ensure that laboratories outside UNBS scope or privately owned are recognised at the national level to do product testing.

It is also in tandem with the drive at the East African Community level where other competent laboratories can be used for testing of products and the accruing results are recognised as legitimate and authentic.

The recognised laboratories include; Chemiphar Uganda, Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), SMAT Uganda limited, Roofings (U) Ltd and RECO Industries.

Speaking at the recognition ceremony, the UNBS Executive Director Dr, Ben Manyindo said: “These are some of the initiatives UNBS is undertaking to increase the capacity of the institution to ensure fair trade through standards”.

He added that as the economy grows the demand for laboratory services increases hence the need for partnerships to address the issue of quality and safety through testing of our local products.

Laboratories’ take

The Government Analytical Laboratory is a Directorate under the Ministry of Internal Affairs that provides specialized analytical and advisory services to Government departments responsible for the administration of justice. 

The Government Analytical Laboratory helps government to provide and ensure internal security through increased use of scientific evidence based investigations. The directorate in its day to day operations is guided by various pieces of legislation which include but not limited to the Fire Arms Act cap 299, the Evidence Act cap 6, the Magistrates Courts’ Act cap 16, the National Drug Policy and Authority act cap 206, the National Bureau of Standards act and the Adulteration of Produce Act cap 27 etc. 

The Scientific investigations conducted by the Government Analytical Laboratory are important in the security and safety of the person and property. The Government Analytical Laboratory is a strategic stakeholder in supporting the monitoring and enforcement of quality assurance in value chain additions.

This is important to product owners as well as the consumers in the fight against counterfeit products because the Directorate is a stake holder in ensuring that the quality of the products of the manufacturer are maintained through aiding law enforcement agencies to determine what is counterfeit and what isn’t through carrying out independent analysis of the exhibits brought to the Directorate from Police for testing and generating an analytical report. 

Fake Goods On Rise Due to Quality Mark Counterfeits

Published in Brand Protection Thursday, 27 October 2016 11:59

Fake goods on rise due to quality mark counterfeits

Written by Justus Lyatuu

Nearly half of the imports coming into Uganda should not be in supermarkets, or any other shop for that matter; rather, at the bottom of a garbage pit, with official figures showing that many products are not fit for consumption.

Andrew Othieno, the manager, import inspection at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, confirmed to The Observer that at least 40 per cent of the imports into Uganda do not meet the official national standards.

He named cosmetics, building materials such as cement and iron bars, electronic cables, as some of the goods that dominate the list of substandard products entering Uganda.

While most of these goods are being smuggled into the country, a new dubious mechanism is being employed by the traders, mostly those from China - falsifying the quality mark (Q-mark).

“We have had consignments of sanitary pads and batteries confiscated at our borders. This is something we have our eyes on; if they have done it, it means that they can do it again,” he said.

How To Register Trademarks In Uganda

Published in Brand Protection Friday, 16 September 2016 12:42

Registration of Trademarks in Uganda is governed by the Trademarks Act 2010 and the Trademark Regulations 2012. 

The registration is done at Georgian house in Uganda, Kampala at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.

Before embarking on the process of registration of a trademark, the person wishing to register the trademark must first of all establish whether the mark has protectable subject matter.

A Trademark is said to have a protectable subject matter where the mark is capable of distinguishing Goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings or if the mark is not inherently capable of distinguishing the relevant goods or services, then it has acquired this distinctiveness through use, and the mark should be capable of graphical representation in order to be registered.

After establishing that the mark, sign or combination of both has protectable subject matter, then you can go ahead to make an application for its registration as a trademark.

Highlights of the process for registration of trademarks

  • you will have to first pay a non refundable application fee for registration of around 15 U.S Dollars.
  • You will then be given Form TM 2 for application for registration which shall contain a representation of the mark and form TM 3 on which you will affix at least four additional representations of the mark corresponding to that affixed to form TM 2

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau is working on a programme to address the low understanding of the copyrights law in the country

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (right), permanent secretary in the Ministry of Gender Pius Bigirimana (centre) and his wife, Elizabeth, launch a book at Sheraton Kampala Hotel early this year. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

By Jonathan Adengo


The Uganda Registration Services Bureau is working on a programme to address the low understanding of the copyrights law in the country.

According to Ms Fiona Bayiga, the director Intellectual property at URSB, among some of the suggestions by the URSB directorate, is amending the law to focus on areas that need to be changed to reflect on the needs of the moment.

“Consultations have not yet begun because we have to start the process of procuring the consultant first. I cannot talk about what amendments, but we shall be looking at what the users would like to have,” Ms Bayiga said yesterday during a workshop at the offices in Kampala.

The understanding of copyright laws have been low on account of low level of awareness of the intellectual property and laws being too complicated for the common man to understand.

“There are artistes in Uganda who are earning much less than they should be able to earn from their work. This is the first with the copy right area but we shall move out to the regions as well,” Ms Jane Okot P’Bitek Langoya, the deputy registrar general of URSB, said.

Mr James Wasula, the chief executive officer of the Uganda Performing Rights Society, said the sensitisation workshop has been long overdue for the artistes.

“We have people carrying titles that they don’t understand what they mean,” he said.

Mr Wasula welcomed the amendment of the property right law and also increased sensitisation of the masses to promote a clear understanding of the law.

“This is the beginning of putting things in the right directions,” he said.

Other artistes such as Mr Francis Mutesasira of the Sauti ya Africa music group, said people do not understand the Intellectual Property Rights law and as such many have lost money to promoters who make money off their work.

Among the challenges facing the low Intellectual Property Rights uptake has been the high costs being charged by the gazette to have the musicians and performers gazette their show.

Mr Bayiga says they charge Shs50,000 to register a copyright, but the gazettes charge Shs450,000 to have it advertised, a cost for the public.

Ms Langoya says the bureau has seen an increase in people registering their businesses due to the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project, a government/World Bank-funded project.

“Through the project, we were able to decentralise the registration process for businesses and patents. For instance, the people who operate in downtown who were afraid of coming to Amamu House to register their businesses all now go the new points at Posta house and Nakivubo which have also worked a lot in reducing the queues at the head office,” she said.

We have also gone into the electronic document management system which will digitise all records, making it easy for people to transact online from the comfort of your office. It will not matter which part of the country you’re in. The bureau is also planning to set up a one-stop centre for business registration,” Ms Langoya says.

Extend Upcountry

At the moment, URSB is mainly operating in Kampala but the government has provided money to open up registration bureaus in 34 municipalities around the country. “We are moving out and by the end of this year we should have covered all those. This year, we are mainly concentrating on sensitisation and we are targeting up country areas as well,” Ms Langoya says. 


The rules of evidence which govern the use of documentary evidence in court revolve around the best evidence rule. This is a rule that holds an original copy of a document as superior evidence. The rule specifies that secondary evidence such as a copy will not be admissible if an original document exists and can be obtained.

Therefore in any court of judicature where a party intends to rely on a document, the document itself must be produced in court.

The best evidence rule is found in sec. 61 of the evidence act cap 6 and is known as Primary evidence which means that the document itself be produced in court for inspection.

Under the evidence act cap 6, documents are classified into two groups’ i.e. public documents and private documents.

Documents like the certificates of registration of trademarks are private documents and fit the definition of private documents as per sec 74 of the evidence act.

When dealing with documentary evidence in regards to trademark offences, you will normally have to produce an original copy of the certificate of registration of the trademark for courts inspection to prove that actually your mark is indeed registered as a trademark in order to comply with sec.61 of the evidence act.

However, this doesn’t mean that if you don’t have the original copy of the certificate of registration of the trademark, you can't rely on other documentary evidence to prove registration.

Like all general rules, the best evidence rule/primary evidence has exceptions to it and these exceptions can be found in sec.64 of the evidence act.

One of the exceptions which can be relied on by those seeking to enforce trademarks in Uganda especially for criminal offences committed against trademarks is where the original is a document of which a certified copy is permitted by the evidence act or by any other law in force in Uganda, to be given as evidence.

Sec. 69(1) of the trademarks act 2010 provides for certified copies of any entry onto the register of trademarks to be admitted in evidence in all courts and in all proceedings, without further proof or production of the original.

This is what is mainly done by most state attorneys’ who are prosecuting trademark offences. They will normally ask for certified copies of the certificate of registration of the trademark in order to tender it in as evidence instead of asking for the original document.


Certification of trademark documents can be done at Uganda Registration Services Bureau at Georgian house in Kampala.

The fees to be paid will differ depending on the type of trademark. If the trademark is a foreign trademark, then one will be required to pay 40 US Dollars to have it certified and if it is a local trademark, one will be required to pay about 10 US Dollars for it to be certified.

Here at BrandGuard ltd, we do help our clients to carry out this process of certifying there trademark documents at a fee.

Davis Ngonde,

LLB, Advocate of the High Court.

Police Unit To Enforce Copyright Law Launched

Published in Brand Protection Wednesday, 13 July 2016 15:09


The initiative, born out of a partnership between URSB, the Uganda Police Force and the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry (UFMI), will implement the copyright law which has been in existence since 2006 but with no enforcement


Artistes march ahead of signing of a memorandum of understanding to enforce the copyright law in Kampala on Friday. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By Emmanuel Ainebyoona


Government has agreed to form a police unit to crackdown on copyright fraudsters.

The unit will be in charge of arresting people who infringe on intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyright, created by musicians, artists, authors and other innovators.

At the same time, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) launched a hologram, a symbol which will be used by Collective Management Organisations and police to identify and differentiate original audio-visual products from pirated ones.

The initiative, born out of a partnership between URSB, the Uganda Police Force and the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry (UFMI), will implement the copyright law which has been in existence since 2006 but with no enforcement.

Speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Intellectual Property Enforcement Unit in Kampala on Friday, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, said government is responsible for administering intellectual property issues.

“When you go to downtown Kampala, you find good-for-nothing fellows benefiting from the sweat of creators. You will find Chameleon’s (Joseph Mayanja) songs on Compact Discs being sold by individuals who make a lot of money yet the creator is getting nothing,’” Maj Gen Otafiire said.

He added that an effectively enforced intellectual property infrastructure is necessary to ensure the stimulation of investment in innovation and to avoid commercial-scale intellectual property rights infringements. 

Mr Bemanya Twebaze, the registrar general at USRB, said enforcement of copyright law will lead to creation of employment opportunities and also widen the tax base through revenue collection.

Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, who was represented by the director of human rights and legal services, Mr Erasmus Twaruhuka, promised to educate police officers and the public on the importance of respecting creative works.

Mr Bonny Kasujja, the director of UFMI, welcomed the creation of the enforcement unit, saying they will ensure no audio-visual works are consumed for free.

“Time has come for those who have been pirating our work to approach us and get proper work, by buying it to encourage us create more,” Andrew Benon Kibuka, head of the Federation of Performing Artists.

Source http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Police-unit-to-enforce-copyright-law/-/688334/3257188/-/10gwbdvz/-/index.html

How to Register Copyrights in Uganda

Published in Brand Protection Tuesday, 05 July 2016 16:42

Registration of copyrights and neighbouring rights in Uganda is governed by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2010 and the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Regulations 2010.
The registration is done by the Registrar of Copyrights who is located at Georgian House in Kampala at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.

Highlights of the 6-step process for registration of Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights:

  • The applicant shall fill Form 1 specified in the 2nd schedule of the Regulations. Form 1 shall be accompanied by a deposit consisting of copies or records representing the work for which registration is applied. The work may be published or unpublished.
  • The applicant is required to pay a non-refundable fee of about 15 US Dollars for each application.
  • Upon receipt of the application, the Registrar shall cause the application to be published in the gazette specified in Form 2 of the 2nd schedule. About 60 US Dollars is charged for gazetting the application.
  • Where after 60 days from the date of publication of the application in the gazette, there is no objection lodged against the registration, and the Registrar is satisfied that all the necessary information has been provided by the applicant, the Registrar shall enter the name of the applicant in the register as the author or owner of the copyright or neighbouring right.
  • Upon registration, the applicant shall be issued with a certificate of registration as proof of registration.
  • The form of the certificate of registration is specified in Form 3 of the 2nd schedule to these Regulations.

Some of the timelines may vary significantly hence the need for a service provider conversant with the process. At BrandGuard we provide such expertise with ease.
Davis Ngonde