Legal basis is the “Trade Mark Registration and Protection Proclamation of July 2006 in force since January 2013.
Ethiopia is not a member of the Madrid Agreement, the Madrid Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
It can also be acquired by sufficient public recognition.

Please be advised that colours and three-dimensional trademarks can be registered in Ethiopia as traditional trademarks. The other non-traditional trademarks such as sound, smell, hologram, movement, taste and touch are not accepted for registration.

Trademark Requirements:

Mark and list of goods.

Full particulars of the applicant.

Specimen of the mark and a printing block (in case the mark is a device).

A power of attorney duly legalized up to the Ethiopian Consulate.

A certified copy of Home registration. No legalization is required.

Business License (if available) detailing the goods and/or services to be covered by the

Application, with verified English translation, legalized by an Ethiopian Consul.

The application for registration in Ethiopia and the supporting certified copy of home registration must be for an identical specification of goods and/or services.  (Class headings are not accepted.)


The expected time frame for a straight forward registration is 5 to 7 months from the filing date.


The Trademark Directorate in Ethiopia will NOT accept documents that have not been legalized up to an Ethiopian Consulate.  These documents must accompany the application.


We can file application for registration of a trademark within two weeks after receipt of the legalized documents and obtain Certificate of Registration within two months thereafter.


There is provision for the registration of service marks.

Applications will be substantively examined as to formalities, and relative, as well as substantive grounds. Although Ethiopia is not a member of the Paris Convention, Proclamation no. 501/2006 on Trademark Registration and Protection expressly provides for priority to be claimed, provided the application in Ethiopia is filed within six months from the date of the first-filed foreign application.


Accepted applications will be published for opposition purposes. Until the official Journal appears, applications will be published in local newspapers (as was the case with the former registration regime).


Opposition procedures:

The opposition period is 60 days from the publication date of the Cautionary Notices in two newspapers. The TMO shall publish a notice of invitation for opposition in the Intellectual Property Gazette or Newspaper having nationwide circulation at the cost of the applicant. This may be supplemented by a radio or television broadcast or a website notice as deemed necessary.  Any person who objects the registration of the trademark may, within the period and in the manner prescribed by the Regulations and upon payment of the prescribed fee, notify in writing to the Office stating the ground of opposition and attaching the supporting documents. The Office shall send a copy of the opposition together with supporting evidence to the applicant, within the period and in the manner prescribed by the Regulations. The applicant may send to the Office a counter statement of the grounds which would support his application, within the period and in the manner prescribed by the Regulations if he fails to submit the counter statement, it shall be deemed that he has abandoned the application.  The Office shall furnish a copy of the counter statement of the applicant to the person who made opposition and reach a decision within the period and in the manner prescribed by the Regulations, after examining the merits of the case. The Office shall furnish copies of its decision under sub-article (4) of this Article to the applicant and the person who made the opposition within the period prescribed by the Regulations.


Renewal requirements:

A Power of Attorney duly legalized up to the Ethiopian Consulate is needed for renewal. If a POA has already been issued to us previously, there is no need to send us a new POA. Sample of POA is attached.

Specimen of the mark and a printing block (in case the mark is a device).


Renewal Applications can be submitted within three months prior to the renewal due date.


The protection period of a trademark is seven years as from the date of the filing the application. Registration of a trademark can be renewed for a consecutive period of seven (7) years.  Renewal of a trademark registration shall be made within three months after the expiry of the registration period; however, the registration may be renewed within the next six months, by paying in addition to the regular renewal fee, a penalty prescribed by the Regulations.  A trademark renewal is published.


The TMO office neither sends any notification nor makes any publications for cancellation due to non renewal. The trademark will be lapsed and the only way to restore it is to file new (fresh) application. Any third party can apply for a lapsed trademark due to non-renewal at any time. The law did not specify a certain timeframe.

Adjustment requirements:


A power of attorney duly legalized up to the Ethiopian Consulate.


Re-registration requirements:


A power of attorney duly legalized up to the Ethiopian Consulate.

A certified copy of Home registration without legalization by an Ethiopian consulate abroad.


License Agreement/Register User:

In Ethiopia licence agreements have to be in writing. It is not permissible to license the use of unregistered trademark. A trademark owner may grant a licence with respect to only some of the goods or services for which the mark is registered. The contract should indicate whether it is for some or all of the goods or services in respect of which the trademark is registered. The sale of a registered trademark does not automatically terminate the licence. There are statutory provisions for an effective control, by the licensor, of the quality of the goods or the services in connection with which the trademark may be used.There are provisions in law for the recordal of a licensee with the Trademark Office. Recordal is mandatory. There is no time frame for recordal. There is no prescribed form or content for a licence agreement. No further documents are required.

Effectiveness of License Agreement/Register User:
The licence becomes effective on the date of the contract. The licence is required to be published in an Intellectual Property Gazette or a newspaper having nationwide circulation.
Infringement Proceedings:
There is an evidentiary presumption that use by a recorded licensee is permitted use. Whether the licensee may join the proprietor in infringement proceedings and whether he may call upon the trademark owner to institute infringement proceedings depends on the content of the contract. It also depends on the terms of the content whether the registered user is entitled to institute proceedings in his own name after a certain time and whether he must cite the proprietor as co-defendant in any such proceedings.