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  • Intellectual property framework

    Overview

    Intellectual property is a right protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Angola. The fundamental intellectual property framework in Angola is provided in 2 main acts: the Legal Regime for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights and the Industrial Property Law.

  • Commercial contract framework

    Overview

    Angolan law lays down a general principle of contractual freedom, which means that parties are mostly free to establish the terms and conditions to be observed by the contracts they enter into (exceptions are made to mandatory rules legally imposed which will depend on the specific contractual relationship) and are entitled to enter into contracts provided for in the law, but also into contracts that are not provided for in the law.

    Angolan law does not establish a unitary act or set of rules applicable to all commercial contracts. Depending on the specific contractual relationship, commercial contracts may be subject to the provisions of the Civil Code, Commercial Code, Copyright and Related Rights Law, and the Industrial Property Law as well as other specific legislation.

    The aforementioned set of rules changes according to the specific contract in question.

  • Copyrights

    Nature of right

    Copyright covers original literary, scientific and artistic intellectual creations, or works. Registration is not required for the acquisition or maintenance of copyright rights; however, there are certain specific copyright-related acts subject to registration in order to be valid.

    In Angola, copyright comprises economic and moral rights.

    In the scope of economic rights, copyright owners have the exclusive right to use, enjoy and dispose of their work, or to authorize the use of the work, wholly or in part, by third parties.

    Moral rights consist in the right to claim authorship of the work, as well as the right to ensure its genuineness and integrity.

    Legal framework

    Copyrights are governed by Law No. 15/14 of July 31, which introduced the Legal Regime for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights.

    Duration of right

    As general rule, moral copyrights are unlimited in time and, therefore, are inalienable and imprescriptible. With respect to economic copyrights, copyright protection lasts for a term of 70 years, counted as of January 1 of the first year after the death of the author, as well as through the life of the author.

    In the case of works in collaboration, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. As per collective works or works originally assigned to a corporate person, copyright expires 70 years from the date of the first licit publication or disclosure, except if the individuals who create it were identified in the version of the work available to the public.

    For an anonymous work, or work that was legally published or disclosed without identifying the respective author, protection is for 70 years after publication or disclosure.

    Please note that, with respect to applied arts and photographic works, economic copyrights protection lasts for a term of 45 years, counted as of January 1 of the first year after the death of the author.

    Economic copyrights related to a broadcaster last up to 35th calendar year after the broadcast.

    Ownership / licenses

    Moral rights are inalienable.

    The copyright owner, as well as their successors or assignees, may authorize the use of the work by third parties or assign economic rights, wholly or partially.

    Granting an authorization to third parties in order for them to divulge, publish, use or explore the work does not imply the transfer of copyright rights.

    Authorization shall only be granted in writing, mandatorily including the parties involved, the title and type of the work, the rights concerned, the duration, place and price conditions.

    Please note that the assigns are only effective against third parties when registered.

    Remedies for infringement

    The copyright owner may request payment of compensation by the agent for damages and losses to repair the damage suffered as a result the infringement, as well as payment of expenses caused by that infringement, which may include legal expenses.

    The amount of the compensation is determined in accordance with the civil liability regime provided for by the Angolan Civil Code, taking into account the amount of material and moral damage suffered by the copyright owner, as well as the profit obtained by the offender.

    When it is proven that the infringing copies affect a right, the Court may order, ensuring that the penalty is proportionate to the seriousness of the offense and taking into account the legitimate interests of third parties, the destruction of those copies and their packaging or their elimination of trade channels by any other reasonable means, without compensation of any kind, in order to avoid any damage to the copyright owner.

  • Mask works / topographies

    Nature of right

    Mask works and topographies are not separately protected under Angolan law. They may be protected under patent law or by way of confidentiality.

    Legal framework

    Angolan has enacted no specific rules on protection of mask works or topographies. Although Angola is part of the WTO and has approved the TRIPS Agreement, it has not yet implemented any rules on mask works or topographies protection.

    Semiconductor technology, generally, and topographies, in particular, may be protected under the traditional intellectual property rules applicable to all types of technology, particularly patent law and the rules on confidential information. Therefore, matters such as the duration of the relevant rights, ownership and remedies depend on the type of protection used in connection with each specific mask work or topography.

    Duration of right

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Ownership / licenses

     Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Remedies for infringement

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

  • Patents

    Nature of right

    Patent rights cover new inventions, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application.

    An invention shall be considered new if it does not form part of the state of the art, which comprises everything, inside or outside the country, made available to the public by means of a written or oral description, by use, or in any other way, before the date of filling of the patent application.

    An invention shall be considered involving an inventive step if it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art.

    An invention shall be considered susceptible of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture, fishing and handicraft.

    A national patent confers on its owner the exclusive right to exploit the patented invention in Angolan territory.

    Legal framework

    Patents are governed by the following:

    • Chapter II, the Industrial Property Law (Articles 2 to 14)
    • Membership of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), approved by Resolution No. 9/84 of July 20
    • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property – approved by Resolution No. 22/05 of August 19
    • Cooperation Treaty patent (PCT) approved by Resolution No. 22/05 of August 19 and
    • Membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hence the TRIPS Agreement (Accession November 23, 1996).

    Duration of right

    Patent protection is granted up to a maximum period of 15 years from the date of filling of the patent application.

    Ownership / licenses

    Patents can be transferred in writing, by means of public deed, whether or not for financial reward.

    Patents may also be licensed in writing, wholly or partially, whether or not for financial reward, on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.

    Transfer of ownership and licenses shall be recorded in the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property to be effective against third parties.

    Remedies for infringement

    Whenever there is violation of or justified fear that another party may cause serious and difficult-to-repair harm to an industrial property right, including patent rights, the court may, at request of the interested party, order the appropriate measures to prevent any imminent violation or to prohibit continuation of the violation.

    Whoever illegally violates the industrial property rights of another person with intent or by negligence shall be obliged to pay a compensation to the injured party for damages resulting from the violation.

    In determining the amount of compensation for losses and damages, the court shall take into account the profit obtained by the infringer and the resulting damages and lost profits suffered by the injured party. The costs borne out of protection of the right in question and the investigation and termination of the harmful conduct shall also be taken in consideration, as well as personal injury.

    Infringement of the exclusive right granted by a patent may be also punishable as crime with imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine.

  • Trademarks

    Nature of right

    A trademark is a sign that distinguishes a company's goods or services, from the goods and services provided by other companies. There are 3 types of trademarks, namely:

    • Nominative: when constituted by letter(s) or word(s)
    • Figurative: consisting of figures or images and
    • Mixed: when it includes a combination of figures and words or letters in its constitution.

    The registered trademark confers to the owner, the right to prevent third parties that do not have their consent from using in the course of trade any sign which is identical or similar to the trademark in relation to goods and/or services which are identical or similar to those for which the trademark is registered.

    Legal framework

    Trademarks are governed by the following:

    • Chapter II, the Industrial Property Law (Articles 29 to 40)
    • Membership of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), approved by Resolution No. 9/84 of July 20
    • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property – approved by Resolution No. 22/05 of August 19 and
    • Membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hence the TRIPS Agreement (Accession November 23, 1996).

    Angola is not a party to either the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol. As such, International Registrations (IRs) cannot be extended to Angola. Angola's accession to the Madrid Agreement and/or the Madrid Protocol is currently the subject of consultation, but the position is unlikely to change for a number of years to come.

    Duration of right

    National trademark registrations remain valid for 10 years starting from the date of filing of the application and may be indefinitely renewed for equal periods.

    Ownership / licenses

    Trademarks can be transferred in writing, wholly or partially, whether or not for financial reward. A transfer of the whole of the undertaking shall include the transfer of the trademark except where there is agreement to the contrary or circumstances clearly dictate otherwise.

    Trademarks may also be licensed in writing, wholly or partially, whether or not for financial reward, on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.

    Transfer of ownership and licenses must be recorded in the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property to be effective against third parties.

    Remedies for infringement

    Whenever there is violation of or justified fear that another party may cause serious and difficult-to-repair harm to an industrial property right, including trademarks, the court may, at request of the interested party, order appropriate measures to prevent any imminent violation or to prohibit continuation of the violation.

    Whoever illegally violates the industrial property rights of another person with intent or by negligence shall be obliged to pay a compensation to the injured party for the damages resulting from the violation.

    In determining the amount of compensation for losses and damages, the court shall take into account the profit obtained by the infringer and the resulting damages and lost profits suffered by the injured party. The costs borne out of protection of the right in question and the investigation and termination of the harmful conduct shall also be taken in consideration, as well as personal injury.

    Trademark infringement is punishable as crime with imprisonment up to 3 months or a fine.

  • Trade secrets

    Nature of right

    Trade secrets are not protected as property in Angola. However, the Angolan Industrial Property Law, in the chapter related to Crimes of Unfair Competition, characterizes as crimes certain conducts involving the unauthorized use of trade secrets. As a result, there is legal protection against the violation of trade secrets.

    Legal framework

    Trade secrets are addressed in article 73 of the Angolan Industrial Property Law.

    Duration of right

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Ownership / licenses

    Not applicable for this jurisdiction.

    Remedies for infringement

    Remedies available for infringement of trade secrets can include criminal remedies (imprisonment and monetary fine) and civil remedies (injunction to prevent the continuation of infringements and damages).

    Trade secret violation is punishable with a fine, if a more serious sanction does not apply by applying the provisions of the penal code and Law No. 9/89 (Law on Crimes Against the Economy).

  • Other key IP rights

    Nature of right

    Design

    Industrial design means any new arrangement or set of lines or colors that, for industrial or commercial purposes, can be applied to the ornamentation of a product by any manual, mechanical, chemical, simple or combined process.

    The registered design confers to the owner the right to prevent third parties that do not have their consent from using it. The aforementioned use shall cover, in particular, the making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using of a product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied, or stocking such a product for those purposes.

    Industrial designs

    Industrial designs

    Legal framework

    Design

    Designs are governed by Chapter III of the Industrial Property Law (Articles 15 to 28).

    Duration of right

    Design

    Designs registrations remain valid for 5 years starting from the date of filing of the application and may be renewed for 2 consecutive times of 5 years each.

    Ownership / licenses

    Design

    Designs may be licensed in writing, wholly or partially, whether or not for financial reward, on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.

    Transfer of ownership and licenses must be recorded in the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property to be effective against third parties.

    Remedies for infringement

    Design

    Whenever there is violation of or justified fear that another party may cause serious and difficult-to-repair harm to an industrial property right, including designs, the court may, at request of the interested party, order appropriate measures to prevent any imminent violation or to prohibit continuation of the violation.

    Whoever illegally violates the industrial property rights of another person with intent or by negligence shall be obliged to pay a compensation to the injured party for the damages resulting from the violation.

    In determining the amount of compensation for losses and damages, the court shall take into account the profit obtained by the infringer and the resulting damages and lost profits suffered by the injured party. The costs borne out of protection of the right in question and the investigation and termination of the harmful conduct shall also be taken in consideration, as well as personal injury.

    Infringement of the exclusive right granted by a registered design may be punishable with a fine.

  • Intellectual property in employment context

    Employees

    As a general rule, the copyright over a work made under a labor agreement or in compliance with functional obligations is determined by agreement between the parties. In case no agreement exists, it is presumed that the ownership over the work belongs to the respective intellectual creator. In cases where there is a service provision contract, the property rights over the work are transferred to the contractor or entity represented by it.

    The right to patent shall belong to the inventor or their successors in title. Notwithstanding, if an invention was made during the performance of an employment contract in which inventive activity is provided for, the right to the patent belongs to the employer.

    Consultants / contractors

    In principle, consultants and contractors will retain ownership of the intellectual property developed by them, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or provided for in the law.

  • Key commercial contract considerations

    Registration of commercial agreements

    There are no general registration requirements for commercial contracts under Angolan law; however, certain exceptions may arise. Furthermore, Industrial Property Rights licenses are subject to registration within the Angolan Industrial Property Institute (IAPI) in order to be enforceable against third parties.

    Recognized language of commercial agreements

    There are no general requirements under Angolan law that provide that contracts must be written in Portuguese. However, in certain cases – for instance, contracts with consumers – the Portuguese language is mandatory, and, if the contract is to be used in specific situations – for example, for purposes of evidence in court or used with public authorities – translation to Portuguese is required.

    Country-specific issues for online content

    Electronic contracts are regulated under Presidential Decree No. 202/11 of July 22.

    Enforceability of online/clickwrap/shrinkwrap terms

    Contracts may be concluded electronically, provided that it does not affect its validity or effectiveness due to the use of this medium. Please note that general contractual clauses requiring electronic conclusion of consumer contracts are prohibited.

    The provider shall make available to the recipients, before the conclusion, unambiguous minimum information including (i) the contract conclusion process, (ii) whether or not the contract is stored by the service provider and accessibility by the recipient, (iii) the language or languages in which the contract may be concluded, (iv) the technical means which the provider makes available so that errors of introduction which may be contained in the order form may be identified and corrected, (v) the contractual terms and general clauses of the contract to be concluded, (vi) the codes of conduct subscribed and information on how to consult them electronically  and (vii) the effective technical means which allows the recipient to identify and correct inserted errors.

    Governing law

    The interpretation and enforceability of contracts is a matter of governing law. The choice of law by the parties is accepted as a general principle, except when otherwise provided for by law; please, however, note that, in certain cases, there are rules of mandatory application – for instance, in the scope of contracts concluded with consumers.

  • Key commercial contract terms

    Enforceability of warranty disclaimers

    This will depend on the specific warranty. Notwithstanding, the law may provide some restrictions on the enforceability of warranty disclaimers (eg, for reasons of consumer protection).

    Enforceability of exclusions/limitations of liability indemnification

    As general rule, the enforceability of exclusions or limitation of liability is limited under Angolan law. According to civil law, limitation of liability or exclusion of liability concerns the grounds of liability itself and the damages and losses. The law is not absolutely clear when dealing with the matter; therefore, some hold the opinion that the law does not prevent clauses limiting or excluding liability for acts of mere negligence, while others suggest that all clauses of exclusion or limitation are completely null and void.

    Indemnification

    Indemnification clauses in contracts are, in principle, enforceable, but may be subject to restrictions provided for in the law. It is relatively common to stipulate in commercial agreements that the indemnifying party will indemnify and hold harmless the other party against claims of third parties related to the subject matter of the agreement.

    Electronic signatures

    According to Angolan law, a qualified electronic signature is equivalent to an autographic signature in paper documents. An electronic document shall only be deemed to be signed for purposes of evidence where it meets the requirements set by the law on electronic signature and certification.

  • Key contacts
    Murillo Costa Sanches
    Murillo Costa Sanches
    Of Counsel DLA Piper [email protected] T +351 213 583 659 View bio
    Joni Garcia
    Joni Garcia
    Associate DLA Piper ADCA Angola [email protected] T +244 926 612 525

Trademarks

Duration of right

Angola

National trademark registrations remain valid for 10 years starting from the date of filing of the application and may be indefinitely renewed for equal periods.

Argentina

Registered trademarks are protected for a period of ten years from the moment of registration. Trademark registration may be renewed indefinitely.

Registration may be canceled for lack of use during a period of five years. In addition, renewal of registration requires proof of the trademark's prior use.

Australia

Subject to fulfilling the necessary requirements, a trademark registration provides a valuable statutory monopoly for an indefinite period of time. There is an initial ten year registration period and the registration can be renewed indefinitely every ten years without the need to provide evidence of use. However, a trademark registration that is more than five years old can be removed from the register if it has not been used for a period of three years or more. Notably, trademarks entered on the register after February 24, 2019, will only have a 3 year grace period before they are susceptible to removal.

Austria

Trademark registrations are in effect for 10 years and are renewable repeatedly for 10-year periods by paying a renewal fee.

Belgium

The duration of trademark protection is 10 years starting from the date of filing of the application and renewable for an unlimited number of consecutive 10-year periods.

Brazil

The duration of trademark protection is 10 years from the date the registration is granted and renewable for successive ten-year periods.

Canada

Canada has recently reduced the term for trademark registrations from 15 years to 10 years. Any registration issued after June 17, 2019 will have a term of 10 years. A registration is renewable indefinitely provided the mark remains in use.

A trademark, whether registered or unregistered, must distinguish a trader's goods or services, failing which trademark protection may be lost.

Chile

The protection is granted for 10 years counted from the date of inscription. It is indefinitely renewable for 10 year periods.

China

The term of validity of a trademark registration is 10 years, which can be renewed for another 10 years upon each expiration.

Colombia

Trademarks have a term of protection of 10 years from the grant date and may be renewed for successive 10-year periods. However, the renewal must be requested from the SIC at least 6 months before the initial term expires and it will have the same terms and conditions of the initial right.

Czech Republic

10 years from filing date of application and renewable repeatedly on request of the owner for another 10 years.

Denmark

Registered trademarks are in effect for a period of 10 years from the date of application. The registration may be renewed for further periods of 10 years ad infinitum.

Trademarks obtained through use are in effect as long as the trademark is in use.

Registered Community trademarks are in effect for 10 years from the date of application and are renewable indefinitely.

Finland

National trademark registrations are valid for a term of 10 years from the date of the application, after which they can be renewed indefinitely. Unregistered trademarks receive protection for as long as they can be considered well-known to the relevant consumers. Registered Community trademarks remain in effect for 10 years from the date of application and can be renewed indefinitely.

France

Protection is through registration only. Registration remains in effect for 10 years and is renewable indefinitely so long as the mark is used and remains distinctive.

Germany

Registration expires automatically after ten years, but can be renewed for additional ten year periods (by paying the renewal fee) indefinitely.

Hong Kong, SAR

The duration of protection is ten years from the date of registration and renewable for an additional 10-year period.

Hungary

Ten years, renewable for successive periods of ten years.

India

Trademark protection is effective for 10 years from registration and thereafter renewable on payment of fees (in effect, perpetual, subject to payment of renewal fees).

Indonesia

Trademark registrations remain in effect for ten years and can be renewed every ten years for another ten-year term.

Ireland

A trade mark registration survives for ten years. It is possible to renew a trade mark registration for additional ten-year periods.

Israel

A trademark has an unlimited term of protection as long as the trademark registration is maintained or an unregistered well-known mark remains well-known.

Italy

Trademark registration lasts 10 years from the filing date (unless waived by the owner), and it can be renewed an unlimited number of times, provided that the request for renewal is filed before the expiration date.

Japan

The duration of protection is 10 years from registration and renewable every 10 years.

Luxembourg

The duration of trademark protection is ten years starting from the date of filing of the application and renewable for an unlimited number of consecutive ten-year periods.

Mexico

Trademarks have a duration of ten years as of the filing requesting the trademark registration.

Netherlands

Trademarks have a duration of ten years starting from the date of filing of the application and are renewable for an unlimited number of consecutive ten-year periods.

New Zealand

Trade mark registrations are protected for ten years from the date of the application and are renewable indefinitely (for 10 year periods) on the payment of renewal fees, provided that the relevant mark continues to be used.

Norway

Registered trademarks are in effect for a period of 10 years from the date of the application, after which they can be renewed indefinitely for periods of 10 years.

Protection for unregistered trademarks are in effect for as long as the trademark fulfills the requirements for unregistered protection (well known in the market).

Philippines

A certificate of registration of a mark shall remain in force for 10 years, subject to submission of a sworn Declaration of Actual Use within three years from filing of the application for registration, and within one year from the fifth anniversary of registration. It may be renewed for periods of 10 years at its expiration.

Poland

The right to a registered trademark may last indefinitely if the protection is extended every 10 years.

In the case of unregistered rights, the trademark has to be in use for the owner to pursue any claims regarding its infringement. 

Portugal

National trademark registrations remain valid for 10 years starting from the date of filing of the application and may be indefinitely renewed for equal periods.

Romania

National trademark registrations are in effect for ten years and are renewable indefinitely so long as the mark's use in commerce continues.

Russia

Trademark registration lasts 10 years from the filing date (unless the registration is waived by the owner) and it can be renewed, within the date of expiration, an unlimited number of times.

Saudi Arabia

The period of protection for a trademark is 10 years (subject to rights of renewal).

Singapore

A trademark can last indefinitely, but an owner must renew the registration every 10 years. Protection of a registered trademark will take effect from the date the trademark application is filed provided the trademark application is granted.

Slovak Republic

The registration of a trademark is valid for ten years from the filing date of the application. On the basis of a request, the Industrial Property Office will renew the validity of the trademark registration for the next 10 years.

Pursuant to amended Act on Trademarks effective as of January 14, 2019, if during a period of 5 years from the date of registration of the trademark, the owner has not actually commenced use of the trademark in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered or where such use has been interrupted for a continuous period of 5 years, the Industrial Property Office may upon basis of the submission of a third party either cancel or declare the trademark invalid. However, this does not apply if the owner has had a legitimate reason for not using the trademark.

South Korea

The term of protection is 10 years from registration, renewable indefinitely as long as the prescribed fees are paid.

Spain

National trademark registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely for further ten-year periods subject to the payment of the appropriate fees. However, the registration may lapse or be revoked, among other reasons, if:

  • The trademark is not renewed
  • It is not effectively used during an uninterrupted five-year period
  • It becomes generic or deceptive in connection with the goods or services it covers

European Union Trademark registration is valid for ten years. This period can be renewed for further 10-year terms subject to payment of the appropriate fees.

Sweden

Registered Swedish trademarks are in effect for 10 years from the date of application and are renewable indefinitely.

Unregistered Swedish trademarks are in effect for as long as the trademark fulfills the requirements for unregistered protection.

Registered European Union trademarks are in effect for 10years from the date of application; renewable indefinitely.

Switzerland

Trademark registrations remain in effect for 10 years and are renewable indefinitely.

Taiwan, China

The duration of trademark right is 10 years from the date of registration and renewable. The duration of each renewal period is also 10 years.

Ukraine

Trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of filing an application with the Ukrainian IP Office and may be extended each time for another 10 years upon the request of the registration holder, provided a renewal fee is paid.

United Arab Emirates

Registrations are valid for ten years from the date of the filing of the application, and can be renewed for successive ten-year periods.

United Kingdom

Trademarks are perpetual (subject to renewal every ten years and as long as the trademark is not revoked).

United States

Federal trademark registrations are in effect for ten years and are renewable indefinitely so long as the mark's use in interstate commerce continues.

State registrations differ (for example, in California it is five years and in New York it is ten years).