African Intellectual Property Organization
OAPI MEMEBRs: CAMEROON, BENIN, BURKINA FASO, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CONGO, IVORY COAST, GABON, GUINEA, GUINEA BISSAU, MALI, MAURTANIA, NIGER, SENEGAL, CHAD, TAGO
Single Application cover all member countries of OAIP, No need to designate member coutries.
TRADEMARKS REGISTRATION UNDER OAPI
African Intellectual Property Organisation known more commonly by its acronym (OAPI) was established through the Bangui Agreement and is headquartered at Yaounde, Cameroon.
OAPI is a treaty for the registration of trademarks in the African Region mostly French speaking Countries with the intent of harmonising laws related to Intellectual Property amongst these member countries to OAPI.
However, understanding the functioning of OAPI to a great extent helps in choosing one’s options in protecting IPR of which trademarks form an important element of a business undertaking.
REGISTRATION PROCESS UNDER OAPI:
· The applicant may file trademark application directly at the OAPI office in Yaounde, Cameroon or via the Industrial Property Office of the contracting member countries as mentioned above which is known as the Receiving Office.
· The applicant may file the application himself / herself or through an authorised representative such as an attorney. Applicant will have to mandatorily file the application through a representative when the applicant’s principal place or residence or business is outside the Contracting State.
· Filing date will be the date of receiving the application which could be either at the OAPI office Yaounde or at the Receiving Office.
OTHER PROCESSES UNDER OAPI:
Matters pertaining to:
- Extensions of time
Are the subject matter of the of Appeal of OAPI.
Matters pertaining to:
Are the subject matter of the Domestic Courts of the respective designated Contracting Member Countries.
SCRUTINY PROCESS UNDER OAPI:
· Upon receipt of the application at the Receiving Office of the member countries, the application is scrutinised regarding formality compliances. In the event objections found by the examiners, the applicant is informed regarding the same to which the applicant has to respond within the prescribed time as indicated, if not the application is deemed abandoned by the office.
· Upon the mark being registered, it shall be treated as though it has been registered in each country individually.
APPLICATION PROCESS TRADEMARK REGISTRATION UNDER OAPI:
· The trademark application can be filed through a trademark agent, a legal practitioner having the authority to represent applicant before the receiving offices of the contracting member countries.
· A valid Power of Attorney is required at the time of filing of the application.
· Trademarkcopia’s attorneys are able to help you with the application and registration processes.
CLAIMING PRIORITY UNDER OAPI:
· Applicants can claim priority of an earlier application filed in a convention country within 6 months from the filing date of such application.
· It is important that, the applicant furnish priority details of the earlier application within 2 months of filing of the trademark application either at ARIPO office or at the Receiving office.
REGISTRATION AND PUBLICATION OF TRADEMARKS UNDER OAPI:
Upon the mark being registered, it shall be recorded in the register and the mark is published in the OAPI journal along with the requisites of the national laws of each designated contracting member countries.
TERM OF REGISTRATION FOR THE TRADEMARKS UNER OAPI:
Trademarks are protected for a term of 10 yrs. from the date of filing of the application with OAPI. Renewals can be done once every 10 yrs. within the due date or a grace period of 6 months with late payment of fees.