Prof Patrick Ogwang, the manufacturer of Covidex, a herbal drug used in the treatment of Covid-19, has placed a notice of its trademark in the Uganda Gazette.
The notice, which was placed in the June 28 issue, will run for two months to allow any member of the public who opposes the registration of Covidex trademarks to raise their grounds.
“Notice is hereby given that any person who has grounds to oppose the registration of any of the marks advertised herein, may within 60 days from the date of this gazette, lodge a notice of opposition,” the notice reads in part.
What trademark entails
According to Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), a trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company from those of other enterprises.
It may consist of any word, symbol, design, slogan, logo, sound, smell, colour, label, name, signature, letter, numeral or any combination of them, and should be capable of being represented graphically.
A trademark has to be distinctive, non-descriptive and not likely to cause confusion. The trademark owner has exclusive rights to prevent others from using the same or confusingly, similar mark.
The notice to gazette comes at a time when Mr George William Alenyo, a lawyer, and Christian Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Tourism have sued him over patent rights.
The petitioners claim that Prof Ogwang, a civil servant, developed the drug using government funds at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), alongside his colleagues and yet he is claiming its patent rights as an individual.
“A declaration that the Covidex drug is a proprietary patent for the government of Uganda, having been developed on government funds, premises, and laboratories and by government public servants paid from consolidated fund,” the petitioners state.
“An order of permanent injunction against the 1st defendant (Prof Ogwang) from claiming patent or Intellectual Property (IP) over the Covidex drug,” they add.
Prof Ogwang, trading as Jena Herbal U Ltd, shot to limelight recently when the National Drug Authority approved Covidex to be used as a supplementary treatment for Covid-19.