Register Trademark Africa under Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI)
The following countries are member states of the Organization, (OAPI) which covers 17 countries:
Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros Island, Congo Republic of, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
Trademark Registration OAPI
Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, is the union of French Speaking African countries mandated to register and monitor Intellectual property of the member states. The Organisation has an established common intellectual property laws and a single Intellectual Property Office, situated at Yaoundé, Cameroon, to have effect in all member countries.
Therefore, an applicant cannot file an application direct in single member state, even if the applicant wishes to protect his Trademark in just one member state of the Union. The application has to be lodged Trademark application with OAPI office, as the Organisation has provided for uniform procedure to file, grant and protect Trademark registration for all member state.
OAPI is unique in that its member countries were required to ‘renounce’ their national sovereignty in the area of intellectual property, to afford the right holder a single regional title of protection valid in each country, obtained via an OAPI application and registration procedure. Hence designation of specific countries is not required in an OAPI application, ie all OAPI applications are in respect of all member countries.
Trademark Search is not mandatory before filing under OAPI, however, strongly recommended so as to ascertain the possibility of acceptance of a mark upon examination.
Trademark Registration Filling Requirements Under (OAPI) :
- Original Power of Attorney –Simply signed. NO NOTARIZATION OR LEGALIZATION IS REQUIRED.
- The name, physical address and nationality of the applicant.
- Sample of the mark, even for word mark
- A list of the goods/services and the classes pertaining thereto
- Original priority document (if applicable).
- Colors to be claimed with pantone code (if applicable)
Furthermore, Under OAPI, one application can be filed for either three classes of goods or three classes of services or a mixer of classes of goods and services. That is to say, if the applicant has a trademark to be filed in classes 1, 9 and 42 for instance, only one application may be filed to cover for goods and services (classes 1, 9 for goods and class 42 for services ).
It is possible to divide multi-class applications, for instance, to overcome a provisional refusal where a mark was refused in only some of the classes, to divide the application and allow the mark to proceed to registration in the other classes where no objections were raised.
Trademark Registration Protection
A Trademark Registration in OAPI is valid for 10 years from the filing date of the application and thereafter the registration can be renewed for another 10 years upon payment of required fee. Renewal of a trademark registration can be done as long as the proprietor of the mark wants to protect it.
The Trademark registration may be subject to cancellation/invalidation actions based on lack of use, if it is not used in any of the designated States for more than Five years (5) after registration.