A power of attorney on behalf of the applicant is one of the requirements in Angola for the registration of any IP right via a legal representative. This document is even necessary for circumstances when the petitioners are foreign individuals and organizations, as they must be represented by a local attorney at law, pursuant to article 67 of the Angolan Industrial Property Law (IP Law).
It will also be necessary for these applicants to get their power of attorney validated at an Angolan consulate or embassy.
Nevertheless, given that the legalization process, as well as the time it takes to receive the original document in Angola, can take a long time, there are situations when it is not possible to wait for the legalization process to be completed, either to ensure priority claim deadlines, formal deadlines, or simply to move forward with a quick filing in accordance with the applicant’s business strategy.
Although the IP law of Angola still has no regulation on the possibility of late filing a power of attorney, it is common practice at the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property (AIIP). However, in the absence of regulation, the applicable deadline for late filing is uncertain, especially since the AIIP’s various departments apply different deadlines for late filing of documents, including the power of attorney.
It is widely acknowledged that there is no official deadline for late submission of a power of attorney unless the agency conducts a formal examination. If this document is missing during the examination, the office will inform the applicant to provide it.
The departments use varied timeframes in the formal notices from the office demanding the submission of missing documents.
For instance, the patent department normally provides a 90 days period to file missing documents; the trademark department usually allows 30 days, and the department in charge of oppositions and other litigation processes usually needs the power of attorney to be filed within 15 or 30 days.
A new deadline for filing powers of attorney has been set by an Angolan court
The Angolan office has issued Notice No 4/2021 informing that, as of July 30, 2021, any activity that requires the filing of a power of attorney will have 30 days to file it, counting from the filing date, and that it will be extendable only once for another 30 days, leaving a total of 60 days for late filing.
On the other hand, the maximum time limit of 60 days may not be adequate to complete the legalization procedure and deliver the original document to Angola, since this process might take a long time and be affected by events without the applicants’ control.
With the precedent set for filing appeals based on late filing of the power of attorney after the deadline, it appears clear that the late filing of the power of attorney should be within 30 days, with the possibility of extending to 60 days at the very least, giving the applicants maximum deadline of 90 days to submit it in order to have the office requirements consistent with the official fees published in the Official Gazette, which contemplates the late filing of the power of attorney after the deadline.
Given that this notification only addresses the power of attorney, it appears that it does not address the stated problem, namely, preventing the accumulation of cases awaiting the submission of the required documents. This is because, in many circumstances, completing the legal formalities will include more than just submitting the power of attorney.
For trademark registration, for example, the submission of the applicant’s business certificate, or for patents, the deed of assignment from the inventor(s) or the Portuguese translation of the specifications will be necessary, in addition to the power of attorney. This implies that, despite the fact that the power of attorney has been submitted, the requirements have not yet been met since relevant documents may still be lacking.
Presumably, Notice No. 4/2021 is mainly meant to control late power of attorney filings in opposition cases (where the power of attorney will be the only document required). However, in the absence of a clear statement of these processes, this notice will be applied to all activities that need a power of attorney, resulting in a number of circumstances where applicants will fail to comply and possibly additional appeals.