Patent Procedure in OAPI

OAPI offers a centralized registration system for its member countries.  There are now 16 OAPI members (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoro Islands, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo). In this connection, please note that the separate registration of trademarks and patents in member states of OAPI is not possible.

Registration of a patent at OAPI automatically covers all the member territories at the time of filing the application for registration.  It is not possible to cover certain territories only.  The registration is maintained centrally at OAPI and a single annual fee is payable to maintain the registration.  Patent enforcement, however, is carried out through the national courts of the territory/territories where the infringement is taking place.

All the OAPI territories are members of PCT and the majority of patent applications filed at OAPI are PCT applications. The certificate of filing is issued within 3-4 months.  The certificate of registration is usually issued within 2 years, but it may take a further 2 years for the Letters Patent document to be issued. 

A formality examination is undertaken, and notification is received from OAPI regarding outstanding documents and other irregularities. Examination and publication fees are included in the initial filing fees paid.  Provided no objections are raised, no further fees are payable, but further fees will be payable for responding to official actions and any corrections required. 

OAPI applies the deadlines for providing documentation very strictly, and priority rights are lost if the supporting priority documentation is not filed within 6 months from the OAPI filing date.  Patents are published after registration.



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Contact: Hanan Elayyan (Miss)


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