Intellectual Property Rights


The Industrial Property Act, 2010 not only protects patents, industrial designs, appearance of product or trade mark, symbol or word or logo but it also protects copy right that applies to literary and artistic work. Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) administers the Act and maintains separate registers in respect of the Intellectual Property in Botswana.


A patent may be granted to an invention if the invention is new or inventive or useful as an industrial application and not abstract. A discovery of plant or theory or mathematic method or an aesthetic creation or a method of doing business or a computer program will not be regarded as inventions and therefore can't be patented. In the same way, methods of treatment of human or animal body by surgery or therapy and biological processes for production of animals and plants can't be protected by patents.

Legal Issues

Inventor or his agent applies for patent giving information about inventor, invention and justification.  An application is a petition for patent.  Foreign applicants submit applications through Botswana agents.  International application is covered by Patent Cooperation Treaty although the application is made under the Botswana Act.  Non-payment of annual maintenance fee may lapse the patent.

The application is published normally 18 months after the filing date.  After following prescribed procedures, Registrar grants patent certificate, which is valid for 20 years from the date of filing.  When a certificate is granted, it prevents any third party from exploiting the patent in Botswana.  The patent rights may be ceded by the inventor.
Inventor has a responsibility to supply the market adequately with the products patented within 3 years from the grant of patent.  Otherwise, Government may issue compulsory licences to third parties to exploit a patent.  Further government may directly or through authorised agents import patented products that are in short supply.

Trade Marks or Industrial Design

These are basically words or symbol or logo or a combination of these used to identify source of goods or services. The procedure is similar to patent application. Trade mark can be transferred by cession or assignment. The owner of the mark can sue for infringement of the mark where the infringement is in respect of:

  • Using the mark without owner`s authorization or performing acts conducive to commission of that infringement.
  • Use of sign similar to registered mark as to cause confusion in the public mind.
  • Reproducing or imitating or translation of registered mark.
  • The damages for infringement are an interdict, delivery up or destruction of the infringing material plus damages and account of the profit derived from infringement.

The mark may be removed if it has not been used for three years or more. A trade mark may be licensed.


Copyright applies to literary and artistic works such as books, speeches, stage productions, study guides, photography, sculpture, etc. An idea or a procedure or a system or a principle or a discovery can't be protected by copyright. Copyright does not have to be registered since it automatically belongs to the author or performer. Copy right is transferable. Copy right is valid for 50 years after the death of the author.

Trade Name

Trade name that may mislead, deceive, be contrary to public order or morality is not permissible for use. Trade name is protected against unlawful use by third party even prior to or without registration.

Botswana Innovation Hub

It is a Government owned Company that is created to develop and maintain Botswana Science and Technology Park and to encourse innovation in Botswana.  Please click for further details.


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