Is It Possible to Register a Trade Mark in Somalia?

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Somalilandsun: Kindly note that the Somalia Registry is now operational and it is possible to file trade mark applications in Somalia. Reports

Please note that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had earlier indicated that trade mark registration would only commence after the enactment of new trade mark laws. However, through a Ministerial Decree issued last year, the Ministry has now provided for the registration of trade marks before the enactment of the new laws. Kindly note that the decree does not outline the procedure for examination or oppositions of applications although it is expected that the office will examine the applications against previous registrations.

We are advised by our agents that the Somalia Trade Mark Registry is set up under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (the Ministry). In this regard, the Decree by the Ministry providing the fees for trade mark registration seems to have enabled the Ministry to resume trade mark registration.

Regarding validity, the Ministry is relying on the laws that were in place in Somalia before the suspension of the government i.e Law No. 33 of 1975 Trade Marks and Patents Law (which introduced the following Italian laws into the territory of Somalia):

  • Ordinance number 3 of 1955 on trade marks;
  • Ordinance no 1 of 1955 on patents;
  • Ordinance number 2 of 1955 on industrial designs.

The Ministry is also relying on law No. 66 of 1977 (the Copyright Law).

The only concern is that the Ministry officials had earlier indicated that trade mark registration would only commence after the enactment of a trade mark law. This appears not to be case anymore.

Kindly note that the Ministry is only accepting single-class trade mark applications. Further, it appears that the current edition of the Nice classification is now applicable although previously the “Old Italian Classification” which consisted of 49 classes was adopted. 

The requirements to file a trade mark are as follows:

  1. Representation of the trade mark;
  2. Specification of goods;
  3. Name and address of the proprietor;
  4. A copy of a simply signed Power of Attorney form

Please also note that the timeline from application to registration in Somalia is approximately two (2) to three (3) months. We still await clarity from the Ministry on the procedure for examination and oppositions.

Lastly, kindly note that publication of cautionary notice is still available as means of informing the public of a proprietors IPRs.

by Udi Pillay | Senior Associate and  Nishi Chetty | Partner of  Adams & Adams Attorneys

Udi Pillay and  Nishi Chetty of  Adams & Adams Attorneys

Adams & Adams is an internationally recognised and leading African law firm that specialises in providing intellectual property and commercial services.


Definition: Trademark applications filed are applications to register a trademark with a national or regional Intellectual Property (IP) office. A trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Direct nonresident trademark applications are those filed by applicants from abroad directly at a given national IP office.

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), WIPO Patent Report: Statistics on Worldwide Patent Activity. The International Bureau of WIPO assumes no responsibility with respect to the transformation of these data.

For trade mark and cautionary notices publications in both Somaliland and Somalia kindly contact