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Trademark Security in OAPI: A Comprehensive Registration Manual

Trademark registration in the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) is a vital step for businesses seeking to protect their brands across a group of diverse nations in Africa. This regional procedure streamlines the process, offering a unified framework for trademark registration, fostering economic growth, and safeguarding intellectual property rights.

Contents

 

1. What is OAPI?

2. What Can Be Registered as a Trademark in OAPI?

3. Reasons for Refusal of a Trademark Application in OAPI

4. The Process of Trademark Registration in OAPI

5. Documents Required for Trademark Registration in OAPI

6. Trademark Opposition Process in OAPI

7. Trademark Costs in OAPI

8. Why File a Trademark in OAPI?

9. Final Thoughts

1. What is OAPI?

 

The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) is an intergovernmental organization comprising 17 member countries. These include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, and Togo. OAPI provides a centralized system for the protection of intellectual property rights, including trademarks.

2. What Can Be Registered as a Trademark in OAPI?

 

In OAPI, a trademark can take various forms, including words, logos, three-dimensional marks, combinations of colors, sounds, and audiovisual signs. This broad definition allows businesses to protect the visual and auditory elements that distinguish their goods or services in the market.

3. Reasons for Refusal of a Trademark Application in OAPI

 

Trademark applications in OAPI may face refusal based on relative and absolute grounds. Relative grounds include the existence of identical or similar trademarks for similar goods or services, while absolute grounds encompass signs that describe goods or services, violate public order or morality, or reproduce official symbols without proper authorization. Read also about trademark registration in ARIPO.

4. The Process of Trademark Registration in OAPI

 

Step 1: Preliminary Trademark Search

 

Before initiating the registration process, it is advisable to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure there are no existing trademarks that could hinder the registration of your proposed mark. Conduct a free AI trademark search through the iPNOTE AI tool now

 

Step 2: Prepare and File the Application

 

Prepare the Application: 

  • Collect all necessary information, including a clear representation of the trademark.
  • Compile a list of goods and services that the trademark will cover.

Submit the Application to OAPI:

  • Prepare a written application and submit it to the OAPI office.
  • Include the required fees along with the application.

 

Step 3: Examination by OAPI

 

Formal Examination: OAPI conducts a formal examination to ensure the application meets all legal requirements. If there are deficiencies, OAPI will notify the applicant and provide an opportunity to rectify them.

Oppositions and Response: If any oppositions are filed, OAPI will inform the applicant. The applicant must respond to any oppositions or office actions within a specified period.

 

Step 4: Registration and Publication

 

Following the submission of the application, OAPI will publish the details in its official gazette. This publication serves as notice to the public and allows third parties a 90-day window to file oppositions if they believe there are grounds for refusal.

 

Step 5: Resolution by OAPI

 

After considering any responses to oppositions or office actions, OAPI will make a decision to either grant or reject the trademark application.

 

Step 6: Registration and Maintenance

 

  • Trademark Registration: If the application is approved, the trademark will be registered and valid for an initial period of 10 years.
  • Declaration of Use: Trademark registration in OAPI is subject to a mandatory Declaration of Use, which must be filed in the 3rd year of registration.
  • Renewal: The registered trademark can be renewed for additional periods after the initial 10-year term.

5. Documents Required for Trademark Registration in OAPI

 

To initiate trademark registration in OAPI, applicants must submit a completed application form, proof of payment, a copy of the priority document (if applicable), and a power of attorney if filing through a representative. A certified copy of the priority document must be submitted within three months from the filing date.

6. Trademark Opposition Process in OAPI

 

During the three-month opposition period, third parties can file objections to the registration. The OAPI considers these objections and may request additional information. If a valid opposition is raised, the application may be rejected. The decision is published in the Official Bulletin.

7. Trademark Costs in OAPI

 

Trademark registration in OAPI incurs costs for filing and publication. The fees vary depending on the number of classes and additional services, such as claiming priority or filing oppositions. 

 

Filing stage: 

Professional fee up to 3 classes$774
Government fee up to 3 classes $726
Professional fee for each additional class$300
Government fee for each additional class $150

 

Renewal stage:

 

Professional fee for 1 class$645
Government fee for 1 class$905
Professional fee for each additional class$265
Government fee for each additional class $185

 

The trademark registration cost in OAPI via the iPNOTE platform starts from as low as $1,500, which includes all government fees and document preparation. Find the best IP attorney in OAPI on iPNOTE.

8. Why File a Trademark in OAPI?

 

Filing a trademark in OAPI provides a cost-effective way to obtain protection across multiple countries. A single registration covers all member states, streamlining the process and reducing administrative burdens for businesses. This approach enhances market competitiveness and protects brands efficiently in the OAPI region.

9. Final Thoughts

 

Trademark registration in OAPI offers businesses a strategic advantage in protecting their intellectual property across a diverse and growing market. Businesses looking to establish a strong brand presence in the OAPI region should consider trademark registration as an integral part of their intellectual property strategy. Embracing the regional procedure simplifies the process, fosters innovation, and contributes to the overall economic development of the member countries.

 

***

 

The iPNOTE platform features more than 700 IP law firms that cover more than 150 countries, so you can always find the right direct service provider using our flexible filtering system.

 

Start protecting your IP in OAPI with our AI Assistant now.

 

Check your brand originality with our AI trademark search tool for free! 

 

Sign up for free, and we’ll help you solve any IP-related problem. 
 
Secure your brand’s identity with trade mark registration in Dubai, paired with a meticulous trademark search in the UAE.

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