ZIMBABWE: The Principles of the Companies and IP Office of Zimbabwe bill – considered and approved by cabinet

Published Date: April 19, 2023

The Zimbabwean cabinet has approved the principles of the Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe Bill.

The approval of the principles of the Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe Bill by cabinet was announced on 11 October 2022.

The Bill will provide for the establishment of the Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe which will be responsible for the registration and administration of proprietary rights related to companies and intellectual property in Zimbabwe. In addition, it was announced that the legislation will amend the  Acts:

  • Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act;
  • Patents Act;
  • Industrial Designs Act;
  • Integrated Circuit Layout Designs Act;
  • Trade Marks Act;
  • Intellectual Property Tribunal Act;
  • Armorial Bearing, Names, Uniforms and Badges Act; and
  • Companies and other Business Entities Act.

Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe would be established to enable the effective facilitation and support of creativity and innovation in Zimbabwe as well as ease of doing business and service delivery.

This follows General Notice 3407 of 2021. This Notice provides that from the 26th of November 2021, the Office for the Registration of Companies and Other Business Entities and the Intellectual Property Office were separated from the Deeds Registry. This led to the creation of the Companies and Intellectual Property Office under the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The approved principles have not been made public. The intention is that the office be swiftly established to enable the effective facilitation and support of creativity and innovation in Zimbabwe. The following is unclear;

  • whether this means that the office will be autonomous or semi-autonomous (at this present time, the Companies and Intellectual Property Office falls under the Minister of Justice); and
  • what the structure of the office would be.

There is an expectation that the bill will attempt to follow what has occurred in other progressive jurisdictions, in that the Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe would be somewhat independent. In this way, the office can attempt to reduce the administrative challenges which have had a huge impact on the efficient registration and administration of intellectual property rights over the years.

Watch this space for further developments!

Source: Prepared by Udi Pillay – checked by Nicolette Biggar

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