Country Name: RWANDA


Types of trade marks

The Act provides for the registration of the following marks:

  • goods and service marks
  • certification marks
  • collective marks
  • geographical indications.


The International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Classification) is applied. Rwanda follows a multi-class application system and a single application may cover more than one class.


An application is filed at the Rwanda Trade Marks Office, administered by the Ministry in charge of Industry.

The following information and documents are required:

  • full particulars of the applicant
  • power of attorney (notarised), in French
  • reproduction of the trade mark
  • list of the goods or services to be covered
  • priority document (certified copy), in French, if priority is claimed.


The Registrar shall examine the application to determine whether it complies with the formal and substantive requirements. The Registrar shall, if he is satisfied that the application complies with the requirements, accept the application and advertise the application for opposition purposes in the Trade Marks Journal. Thereafter the registration certificate will be issued.

Duration and renewal

A trade mark registration is effective for a period of 10 years from the date of filing and, thereafter, is renewable for like periods. It is possible to effect the late renewal of a registration, but not exceeding the 10 months grace period granted by the Registrar, upon payment of the late penalty fee.


The rights in a mark may be transferred by assignment. A mark must be assigned with the goodwill of the business. Recording of an assignment is necessary to be effective against third parties.

Requirements for recordal:

  • power of attorney from the assignee (notarised)
  • deed of assignment.


Types of applications

Application for a patent may be made by way of:

  • a non-convention application, where the effective date is the filing date of the application
  • a convention application, where the effective date would be the priority date of the first-filed application under the Paris Convention
  • a national phase application based on an international application under the PCT in which Rwanda is designated
  • an ARIPO application designating Rwanda
  • a divisional application, where the original application covers more than one invention
  • an application for a utility model, for an invention with a lower level of inventiveness and which may be converted, prior to grant, to a patent application.


Non-convention and convention applications are filed with the office of the Registrar of Patents. Foreign applicants must have a local address for service

Filing requirements for a PCT national phase:

  • full particulars of the applicant
  • power of attorney (notarised)
  • assignment from the inventor(s), or a statement by the applicant justifying its right to the invention
  • specification (including claims, drawings and abstract), in English
  • certified copy of the priority document (if applicable).


Applications are subjected to formal examination which takes place automatically.


The Law does not provide for opposition to the grant of a patent by third parties.


After examination, if the Registrar is satisfied that the necessary requirements have been met, he shall grant and publish the patent.

Duration and maintenance

The duration of a patent is 20 years from the filing date. Maintenance fees are payable annually, starting from the first anniversary of the filing date. A six months grace period is provided subject to payment of surcharges.

Assignments and licences

Assignments and voluntary licences are recognised and must be recorded to be effective against third parties.

Requirements for recordal:

  • power of attorney (simply signed)
  • deed of assignment or licence contract (original or certified copy).

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