OAPI Patent Registrations

OAPI is the African Intellectual Property Organisation for French-speaking Africa. The member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Please note that it is not possible to obtain protection in any of these countries other than by way of an OAPI application.

OAPI is a member of the International Convention and of the PCT.  The deadline for PCT Regional Phase Entry is 30 months from the priority date. The requirements for filing a non-PCT application in OAPI are as follows:

  • Power of Attorney(signed) – can be late filed within 3 months of notification;
  • Specification, claims, drawings, and abstract in English or French – required on the day of filing;
  • Assignment of Invention- can be late filed within 6 months;
  • Assignment of Priority Rights- can be late filed within 6 months; and
  • Certified priority document with sworn and verified English or French translation can be late filed within 6 months.

The translation of the priority document must be accompanied by a signed declaration of the official translator which also carries a stamp or a seal. In the event that the translator does not have a stamp or a seal, notarised translations have in the past been accepted by OAPI.

The requirements for filing a PCT application in OAPI are as follows:

  • Power of Attorney (simply signed) – can be late filed within 3 months of notification;
  • Specification, claims, drawings, and abstract in English or French – required on the day of filing;
  • Assignment of Priority Rights – can be late filed within 6 months;
  • Copy of PCT International advertisement – required on day of filing;
  • Copy of International Search Report – can be late filed, no set deadline; and
  • Copy of International Preliminary Examination Report – can be late filed, no set deadline.

An OAPI application automatically designates all member states. The cost of filing an OAPI patent application is relatively high. However, please note that it is possible to file a preliminary amendment to reduce the number of claims so as to reduce such claim surcharges. Please also note that annuity fees are payable on pending applications, and are payable annually from the first anniversary of the filing date (which is deemed to be the international filing date for PCT applications).

OAPI Design Registrations

OAPI is the African Intellectual Property Organisation for French-speaking Africa. The member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Please note that it is not possible to obtain protection in any of these countries other than by way of an OAPI application.

OAPI is a member of the International Convention. The requirements for filing a design application in OAPI are as follows:

  • Power of Attorney(signed) – can be late filed after notification;
  • 3 sets of formal drawings – required on the day of filing;
  • Certified priority document with sworn and verified English or French translation, see notes below – can be late filed within 3 months.

The translation of the priority document must be accompanied by a signed declaration of the official translator which also carries a stamp or a seal. In the event that the translator does not have a stamp or a seal, notarised translations have in the past been accepted by OAPI.

An OAPI application automatically designates all member states. Furthermore, it is possible to file a single application covering up to 100 variants of a design which belong to the same class of international application or the same range of articles.

OAPI Trademark Registrations

African Intellectual Property Organisation (AIPO/OAPI) – The member States are Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo. One application covers all member states. It is not possible to obtain national registrations or renewal in any one member state.

Filing requirements

  • Full name, street address and description of the applicant (including trading style, if any, and state/country of incorporation, if incorporated).
  • List of goods and/or services.
  • A simply signed French/English power of attorney.
  • Clear print of device mark
  • If priority is claimed: Certified copy of home application/registration.

Classification

  • The 45 classes of the International Classification (Nice Agreement) of goods and services are followed.
  • Multiclass – Yes
  • Goods and service classes must be filed separately to obtain the 3 class fees.

General

Duration of trade marks is for 10 years from date of application and renewable for further periods of 10 years. Non-use of the trade mark in any one of the member states within 5 years from the application date may render the mark vulnerable to expungement. Agreement for licenses and assignments are permitted.