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Benelux trademark protects Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg. In order to obtain trademark protection in Benelux you can register your trademark in two ways: First option is that you request registration in the entire European Union with one single application; this can be done via the European Union Trademark which grants trademark protection in the 28 country members of the EU (more info here). Second option is that you register directly your trademark in Benelux. If you want to proceed this way please follow the steps described belows.
Step 1 - Trademark Comprehensive Study
Before filing your trademark in the Zimbabwe, you must evaluate any issues that may arise during the registration process. Our Comprehensive Study not only lists similar trademarks (graphic and phonetic) that may conflict with yours but also provides you with an Attorney's opinion on the trademark registration possibilities and the class(es) that your goods/services belong to.
Trademark Class Recommendation
Graphic & Phonetic Similarity Trademark Search
Trademark Attorney's Analysis & Advice
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Step 2 - Trademark Registration Request
Specialized attorneys file your Trademark Application in the Zimbabwe and carry out all the necessary formalities to bring your application before the Zimbabwe Trademark Office for approval and registration. As soon as your trademark is filed, we send you a filing report that includes an application number and date, plus a scanned copy of the filed trademark application.
Process Handled by Experienced Trademark Attorneys
Filing the Report & a Scanned Copy of the application
Tracking the Registration Process Online
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Step 3 - Trademark Registration Certificate
Once your trademark application is approved, our attorneys complete all the formalities necessary to obtain the registration certificate in the Zimbabwe. After the certificate is issued, it is forwarded to your address along with a registration report specifying the registration number, registration date, and any special consideration that should be taken into account in the Zimbabwe.
Process Handled by Experienced Trademark Attorneys
Delivery of Registration Certificate & Report
Monitoring & Notification of Important Dates
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 Frequently Asked Questions
Trademark Registration
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Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval?

The average time frame for the registration approval is 8 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

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If I register my trademark in Zimbabwe, do I have protection in other territories?

The territorial limit of registration is Zimbabwe.

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Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is required to complete the registration process.

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Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?
  • pre-filing use may demonstrate acquired distinctiveness
  • pre-filing use may help overcome an opposition on the grounds of non-distinctiveness
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Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?

Attack on the ground of non-use is available.

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What are the types of trademark that can be registered in Zimbabwe?
  • names (with some restrictions)
  • words
  • certain three-dimensional shapes
  • devices
  • colours
  • sounds
  • distinctive and innovative slogans
  • trade dress/get-up
  • smells or olfactory marks
  • holograms
  • taste
  • motion
  • touch
  • collective marks
  • well-known marks
  • certification marks
  • service marks
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What type of trademark is not registrable?
  • marks that contradict standards of morality or public order
  • generic terms
  • names, symbols, or flags of states, regions, nations, or of international organizations
  • non-distinctive marks
  • surnames
  • geographic location names
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Does Zimbabwe use the "Nice Classification" system?

Zimbabwe uses the Nice Classification System. The 10th Edition description for goods and services is accepted by the registry office.

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Does the Community Trademark apply for Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe is not a signatory of the European Union; hence, the Community Trade Mark registration is not effective.

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Is there any possibility to claim priority in Zimbabwe?

Priority application can be claimed if:

 

  • the applicant's home country is a member of the Paris Convention
  • the home application was filed six months earlier than the application filing date in Zimbabwe
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What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

A trademark must be used within a period of five years. The amount of use can be minimal and must occur in Zimbabwe.

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Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The initial term of a registration is 10 years calculated from the application date.

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What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal date is 10 years from the filing date.

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Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?

It is legally permitted to use an unregistered mark for any goods or services.

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Does having a registered trademark in Zimbabwe give me any right?

Registration is not a requirement to obtain rights to a trademark. Prior use is enough to establish right to a trademark since this jurisdiction is following the 'first to use' principle.

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What is the web address of the trademark national office?

The national office is not accessible online.

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Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

Either actual use or intent to use is required for application.

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Can a Trademark Application be opposed?

The following can be grounds for opposition:

  • proprietary rights
  • trade names
  • notorious or well-known mark
  • the mark is descriptive
  • the mark is not distinctive
  • the mark is misleading, deceptive or disparaging
  • registration in the name of the agent or other representative of the proprietor of the mark
  • rights in a company name
  • rights in a personal name
  • unauthorized use of specially protected emblems or national insignia
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Who can contest my trademark application?

Any interested party may oppose a trademark application.

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Is it possible to cancel a registration?

The following can be grounds for cancellation:

  • the mark is not distinctive
  • the mark is descriptive
  • the mark is deceptive, misleading or disparaging
  • the mark is generic
  • protection of flags, armorial bearings, and other State emblems
  • geographical indication
  • the mark is used in a misleading manner
  • the mark is against public policy or principles of morality
  • inclusion of a badge or emblem of any particular public interest
  • prohibited marks
  • bad faith
  • See Section VIII.A. Use Requirements
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Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

The following rights are established by registration:

  • the exclusive right to use the registered trademark
  • the right to file an opposition case against later conflicting applications
  • the right to file a cancellation case against a later conflicting registration
  • the right to sue third parties for infringement or for using a confusingly similar mark
  • the right to license interested parties to use the trademark
  • the right to request for counterfeit goods to be seized by customs authorities
  • the right to obtain damages for infringement
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How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period begins on the date of publication.

 

The opposition period ends two calendar months after publication.

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Is Zimbabwe a member of the Madrid System?

Zimbabwe is a signatory of the Madrid Protocol but not the Madrid Agreement. International registrations can be designated in this jurisdiction. 

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Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

Periodic statements of use are not required.

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When should I renew my trademark?

Subsequent renewals last for a period of 10 years from the renewal date of the registration.

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What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal date is 10 years from the filing date.

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Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?

A power of attorney is required only if it is not the agent in record.

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If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?

The grace period is up to three years after the due date.

Basic Concepts
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What is a trademark?

A trademark identifies a company’s products and services and distinguishes them from those of its competitors in the market. The name (the verbal element) is not the only component of a trademark—figurative elements such as logos, design, images, colors, and sounds also create an identity that can be protected by trademark registration.

With the registration, the owner (person or company) becomes the owner of the trademark. The registration is given for a particular country/territory, for certain products or services, and for a specific term. While the registration is in force, only the owner may use the trademark in the market where the trademark is registered.

 Some symbols to consider:

® Means the trademark is registered.

TM Some countries use this trademark symbol to show that the trademark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

SM Some countries use this service mark symbol to show that the service mark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

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What is the difference between a trademark, patent and copyright ?

You can lay claim to your work in many ways. Trademarks, patents, and copyrights offer protection to intellectual property owners. A trademark helps people find your goods and services. When recognized as a registered mark, it protects your right to exclusively use the image, logo, phrases, or words to distinguish your goods or services from others in the market.

patent safeguards ideas and inventions. It gives a creator or inventor exclusive rights that prevent other people from making, using, or profiting in any way from an invention or creative innovation without the consent of the inventor.

You cannot patent an idea alone (otherwise we’d all be doing it). You must materialize your concept into a tangible invention, innovative product, device, or process that offers new solutions to an existing problem.

Copyright protects all types of original published, performed, and printed creative works of art, literature, and music. It prevents people from using, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works without the permission of the artist, author, composer, etc. Types of work covered by copyright protection include:

  1. a) artwork (2 or 3 dimensional),
  2. b) photographs, graphic drawings, and designs as well as other forms of creativity;
  3. c) songs, music, and sound recordings of all kinds;
  4. d) books, manuscripts, publications, and another written work; and
  5. e) plays, movies, shows, and other performance arts.

 

Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are all examples of ways you can protect your intellectual property. Your rights to control and benefit from your efforts are increasingly important in our global economy. Registering a formal claim to your property is a critical step in protecting what you own.

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What is the difference between TM, SM, ® and other symbols?

The symbol of a circled letter R after a trademark name or graphic image means that the preceding trademark has been registered. Various typographic symbols indicate copyrights and patents. The presence or absence of a symbol does not change the validity of the registration, but the best practice is to use circle‑R or circle‑C for copyrights every time you mention your intellectual property in print. These symbols give legal grounds for claiming damages in trademark litigation. The following is a list of some typical marks you can use on a web page, in written content, or even in a marketing letter.

  • TM: The TM or trademark symbol indicates an unregistered trademark for one of 34 different classes of products. Owners use this symbol to claim the preceding name or logo as the Trademark of their product.
  • SM: The SM or service mark symbol is similar to the TM symbol except it indicates a claim to a mark for a service (one of 11 classes of service) rather than a tangible product.
  • ®: Use the ® symbol once you’ve registered your trademark or service mark. It shows that the country authority has approved the registration.
  • ©: Use the © symbol to indicate copyrighted material. The copyright notice should appear on the material as Copyright © followed by the date the work was created, the copyright owner’s name, a period, and finally “All Rights Reserved.” Like this: Copyright © 2021, John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Use it whether the copyright has been registered or not.
  • Patent Pending: The phrase Patent Pending shows that you filed a patent application but cannot guarantee the application's approval.
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What are trademark classes?

Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories.  When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity. 

Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.

These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics. 

Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes.  It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.

You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.

Trademark Search
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Why do I need to perform a trademark search?

Once you have a product or service and think you have a name for it, how do you know you can use it as your own? What happens if you unintentionally use a registered trademark name? 

Too many people use a name without knowing whether or not they have the legal right to do so. They organize massive marketing campaigns with names they later find they’re not allowed to use. Performing a comprehensive search before deciding which trademark to register is a wise thing to do, especially when you consider future risks of litigation.  

It is a good idea to carry out some research before starting to do business with a trademark. It may not be in your best interest to use a mark if another company is already actively conducting business in the same class.  The other company may object to you using the trademark and legally prohibit you from doing so.

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Do I need an Attorney to perform a Trademark Search?

No, you don’t, but if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you seek professional help. Our company offers a Comprehensive Trademark Study service. The Study gives you details of the classes in which you might want to register your trademark; it also lists identical and similar trademarks, and finally, you get an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

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Where can I perform a trademark search?

If you know a little about trademark registration, you can search using any online trademark search tool. If not, we recommend that you hire a trademark attorney or trademark service like Nominus.com to handle your trademark registration requirements, especially the trademark search because the process is complex and relatively time consuming.

Please note that if you don’t manage to complete the application process correctly, the registration can drag on for several months and end up costing far more than you intended to pay. The trademark search is a critical part of the process.

A broad trademark search is essential in today's marketplace, given the increasing number of unregistered and common law trademarks. Globalization also raises the question of entering international markets and registering trademarks in foreign countries to protect both your brand and your property rights.

Please note that even a completed comprehensive trademark search does not necessarily guarantee your trademark will be accepted and registered. A  Comprehensive Trademark Study includes an extended review process and, more significantly, a formal evaluation of the likelihood that your application will be successful.

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