We are a leading pharmaceutical company based in Asia. Our company manufactures and exports pharmaceutical products to many African countries including Tanzania under our company’s brand name, where our product is very famous. It has recently come to our knowledge that one Tanzanian company manufactures and sells the same products under the name identical to ours. Please assist on how we can go about this situation. Specifically, please guide if we have any legal rights to enforce against this Tanzanian company, taking into account the fact that our company has not initiated the process to register the name in Tanzania.
Your scenario falls under intellectual property law, more particularly trademarks. In Tanzania this is governed by the Trade and Service Marks Act 1986. Under this law, trademarks can be protected by registration in accordance with the Act. This means that one can own and have exclusive rights to use a trademark only if such a trademark is registered in Tanzania under his or her name.
However, the exception to the above rule is where a trademark is well-known. If a trademark is well known in Tanzania it is capable of being protected even if it is not registered. This is pursuant to section 19(d) of the Act. This position has recently been emphasized by our Courts and one must produce relevant evidence to prove that a trademark is well known in Tanzania.
You seem to fall under section 19(d) and should be able to start proceedings against the party in Tanzania. Your lawyers can guide you further.