Intellectual Property (IP) Protection in Zimbabwe


The Trademark Act defines a “Trademark” as a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to services for the purposes of indicating a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services and some person having the right either as proprietor or registered user, to use the mark, whether with or without any indication of the identity of that person; and distinguishing the goods or services in relation to which the mark is used or proposed to be used, from the same kind of goods or services connected in the course of trade with any other person.

“Mark” includes distinguishing guise, slogan, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, numeral of a combination thereof, whether in to or three dimensional form.

The proprietor of a mark used or proposed to be used may apply for registration. Marks are not registered if their use is likely to deceive or cause confusion or would be contrary to the law.

The international classification of goods and services applies.


In terms of the Patent Act, an “invention” means any new and useful art, whether producing a physical effect or not, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter which is not obvious or any new improvement thereof which is not obvious, capable of being used or applied in trade or industry and includes all alleged “invention”.

An “invention” means the person who actually devised the invention or his legal representative.

An application for a patent may be made by the person claiming to be the inventor, the assignee of the inventor.

Industrial Designs

A design may be registered in Zimbabwe if it is new and original. A “design” is defined as features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applied to an article by an industrial process or means, being features which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye, but does not include a method or principle of construction or features of shape or configuration which are dictated solely by the function which the article to be made in that shape or configuration has to perform.

Plant Breeds

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the International Union for the protection of New Varieties of Plants, signed in France on 2 December 1961, and the revisions of this treaty in terms of Plant Breeders Rights, which includes a fungus.