Enforcement of Registered Trademark Rights under Ethiopian law
To secure ones rights under the trademark where they are encroached upon, the owner may approach the court. To secure his rights, where infringement has occurred to limit damage, to compensate the owner and to penalize the offender, the court may use provisional measures as well as civil and criminal sanctions.
Provisional measures shall enable the court to issue an injunction to hold a good that would otherwise flood the channels of commerce and preserve relevant evidence regarding a case of infringement. It may issue a warrant to search and seize objects which constitute of the case or contact the customs and port authority to detain imported goods that consist of the alleged infringement. Provisional measures may be under taken with or without summoning the defendant who will be notified after such measures have been executed.
Prompt provisional measures are necessary especially as regards falsely trademarked goods since if such seep into the market their damage on the profits of an owner will be long term. On the other hand, since it is only fair that a claim for infringement must be subjected to further proof, a provisional measure that could compromise the interests of a defendant shall first be considered to assess whether the threatened interest can be fixed by the payment of damages, whether it is imminent and the damage the injunction could cause the parties. It shall in addition, determine the period of time the measure would last and if the applicant needs to furnish securities in regard thereof. Damages shall be due to the defendant if it is subsequently discovered that there has been no infringement or threat of infringement exists or if the provisional measure has been found ineffective due to any act or omission by the applicant.
In addition to such the court shall award damages to the plaintiff upon ascertaining that there was an infringement of his rights. Such amount shall be equal to the net profit derived by the defendant from the use of the trademark or the amount of royalty the defendant would have paid had he been a licensee to such a trademark whichever is the higher amount.
Issuing false trademarks is a crime which if committed intentionally issues a prison sentence between five to ten years. Negligent commission is punishable with imprisonment between one to five years. Additionally, such punishment may include forfeiture and destruction of the infringing goods and of any materials and implements used in the commission of the offense.
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Any pertinent information about trade mark registration and protection can be available from any Ethiopian Lawyer, Ethiopian Trade mark Lawyer, Ethiopian Copyright Lawyer or Ethiopian Intellectual Property Lawyer.