Ethiopia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1998 and has demonstrated an interest in strengthening its IP regime. As Ethiopia is not a WTO Member, it has no obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Ethiopia has not joined other significant IP treaties such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) copyright treaty, the Berne Convention for Literary and Artistic Works, the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The government has expressed its intention to accede to the Paris Convention, Marrakesh Protocol, and Madrid Protocol.
The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) oversees Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues. EIPO has been tasked primarily to protect Ethiopian patent rights and copyrighted materials, and to fight pirated software. Generally, EIPO is weak in terms of staff and budget, and does not have law enforcement authority. Abuse of U.S. trademarks is rampant, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors. The government does not publicly track counterfeit goods seizures, and no estimates are available. In November 2021, the GOE upgraded the EIPO to the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Authority to strengthen its enforcement capacity. This included granting the Authority a mandate to establish an Intellectual Property Tribunal to arbitrate intellectual property disputes and appeals, which previously could be decided only in courts.
Ethiopia is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 report and notorious market report.
In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property.
To locate the IP Attaché for Ethiopia, please visit the USPTO IP Attaché website.
For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (OSIP) Director, Stevan Mitchell at Stevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.
To access Ethiopia’s ICS, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.