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Two New IP Acts for Zambia

In the last few months Zambia has passed into law the Industrial Designs Act 2016 and the Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Expressions of Folklore Act.

Both Acts came into force in mid 2016 with Zambia repealing its 1958 Design Law. The two Acts definitely show a focus on and progression of IP protection in Zambia.

With many African countries yet to enact laws that protect indigenous knowledge, expression of folklore and indigenous genetic resources Zambia joins a league of African Countries not only advancing protection for innovations but also looking to protect their indegenouis and traditional knowledge. Similarities can be found when looking at Zambia's Act and the South African Traditional Knowledge Act, both Acts encouraging members of indigenous communities to register their IP in order to benefit from licence agreements from persons seeking to explore, access or use their traditional knowledge.

The Designs Act is also a progressive step for Zambia as design registration does not seem to be highly ranked on many rights holders lists when filing in Africa. These sentiments shared at the most recent INTA meeting in Cape Town a few months ago. The update of the Designs Act should encourage more rights holders to utilise these registration regimes where available in Africa.

For more information kindly contact Carole Theuri

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