OAPI: New IP Law

31-Dec-2021

YAOUNDE – The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) announced that the new OAPI IP laws concerning trademarks, designs, utility models and geographical indications entered into force on January 1, 2022.

The new law brought significant changes as follows:

1) The new law extends the definition of trademark to include sounds trademarks.
2) The new law extends examination of trademark applications on absolute grounds, in order to include the possibility of refusal because a mark misses distinctive character or may confuse the public concerning the geographical origin, or the nature or characteristics of the goods or services.
3) Divisional applications are now possible.
4) Trademark applications will be published for opposition before registration. The opposition term will be 3 months instead of 6 months, and the term for filing an appeal against opposition decisions will be 2 months instead of 3 months. As for design applications, they will be published for opposition within 3 months.
5) Certification marks are registerable.
6) The same trademark application may include goods and service classes. Currently, separate applications should cover goods and services.
7) The new law does not include provision for the recognition of International Registrations. OAPI has been accepting international registrations as it joined the Madrid Protocol in 2015. The new law gives e legal basis for international registrations which will be effective in the member states of the Madrid Protocol.
8) Filing unregistered trademarks before a court of law after registration is now possible. Currently, such claims can only be filed at OAPI in the opposition period after publication.
9) The official fees have been amended. Additional trademark class fees are payable for the 2nd and each extra class (applicants can’t include 3 classes in the basic filing cost).

Noteworthy, the new law relating to patents will not be entering into force as yet, but this is expected to happen in 2022.

If you require any further information, please contact AGIP Africa office at africa@agip.com





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