OAPI

Country Data

Official Name: OAPI – Organization Africaine De La Propriete Intellectuelle (African Intellectual Property Organization – sometimes also referenced as AIPO)
Languages (of work):    French, English
Founding Treaty:

The Bangui Agreement March 2, 1977, on the Creation of an African Intellectual Property Organization (which was revised on February 24, 1999)

Members:

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Togo. (Total 17 states)

About OAPI: The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) administers a central system for the registration and maintenance of intellectual property rights for its membership (presently 17 countries) comprising mainly of French-speaking nations of Africa. These member countries have renounced their sovereignty in the area of intellectual property. Accordingly, the title of protection acquired through registration with OAPI serves as a regional title and is effective in each country party to the Bangui Agreement. These rights shall be independent national rights subject to the legislation of each of the member states in which they have effect

The Bangui Agreement contains

provisions with respect to:

Trademarks; Service Marks; Patents; Utility Models; Industrial Designs; Tradenames; Geographical Indications; Literary and Artistic Property; Protection against Unfair Competition; Layout-designs (topographies) of Integrated Circuits; Plant Variety Protection   

International Treaties:

According to the provisions of the Bangui Agreement, OAPI may take all measures necessary for the application of the administrative procedures arising from implementation of the international treaties concerning intellectual property to which the member states have acceded

Salient Features of OAPI system:

The signatory states have renounced their sovereignty in the area of Intellectual Property; the right holder acquires a single regional title of protection which is valid in each member state; designation of any specific countries is not a choice

  • Trademark
  • Patent
  • Industrial Design
  • Copyright
Basic Information
Creation of rights: First-to-file jurisdiction (subject to occasional exceptions)
Basis for filing: Intent to use acceptable – prior use is not a prerequisite
Well-known marks: Specific provisions are included in the Bangui Agreement for the protection of well-known marks
Types of marks: Trademarks, Service Marks, Collective Marks
Priority: Application may be filed with a priority claim within six months from the priority date
Madrid System: Available – OAPI is a member of Madrid System
Filing system: Available; a single application may contain any number of classes of goods and services
Classification: Nice Classification 11th edition
Who can be Applicant: (1) Individuals; (2) Corporate entities
Examination: On formal, absolute and relative grounds
Publication: Official Bulletin, “BOPI”
Opposition period: Six months from the date of publication
Duration of registration: 10 years from the filing date – renewable for further periods of 10 years each upon request of the trademark owner within twelve months preceding the expiry date
Renewal grace period: 6 months
Registration timeframe

(straightforward case):

9 to 12 months (approximately)
Search
Official Search:

Available – for word marks and device marks

Scope of search:

Includes all similar or identical applied-for and registered marks

Turnaround time: 5 to 10 working days
Ways to obtain protection
  • OAPI Application (that automatically covers all 17 member states of OAPI)
  • Designating OAPI in an international application under the Madrid system (that automatically covers all 17 member states of OAPI)

Filing Requirements

New Applications
  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant, simply signed.
  2. Certified copy of the priority document, if priority is claimed. Verified French or English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Renewal of Registration
  1. Power of Attorney from the owner, simply signed.
  2. A simple copy of the last renewal certificate, if applicable.
Change of Name / Address Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney in the new name/ address of the owner, simply signed.
  2. Certified copy of certificate of change of name and address, duly notarized. Verified French or English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Assignment Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the Assignee, simply signed.
  2. Assignment document; duly notarized. Verified French or English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Merger Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the new owner, simply signed.
  2. Certificate of Merger document, duly notarized. Verified French or English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
License Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the licensor, simply signed.
  2. Power of Attorney from the licensee, simply signed.
  3. License Agreement, duly notarized. Verified French or English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Ways to obtain patent protection:

OAPI Application (automatically covering all 17 member states)

  1. Patents of Invention
  2. Applications with priority claims in terms of the Paris Convention
  3. Divisional Applications
  4. Patents of Addition

PCT regional phase application designating OAPI (automatically covering all 17 member states)

Basic Information
Claims admissible for: 1) Process; and 2) Product
Novelty requirement: Absolute
Convention priority: Available (12 months)
PCT national phase entry deadline: 30 months
Search: Available for granted and published inventions by title, subject matter, applicant’s name, priority number, or PCT number
Examination: With respect to form, novelty, inventiveness, industrial applicability, unity, and compliance
Publication: Publication takes place in the OAPI Journal
Opposition period: There is no provision in law for filing of opposition
Protection term (patent): 20 years from the filing date and in case of the PCT national phase applications, from the international filing date 
Protection term (utility model): 10 years from filing date
Annuity payment: Becomes due annually on the anniversary of the OAPI filing date and payable prior to grant. For patents filed under the PCT, annuity payment becomes due on the anniversary of the international filing date and payable prior to grant
Grace period for late annuity payment: 6 months with a late payment fee
Working/ Compulsory License: If the patent is not fully exploited by the patentee within 4 years from the date of filing or 3 years from the date of grant, the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing
Patent grant timeframe
(straightforward case):
2 to 3 years (approximately)
Filing Requirements

For non-PCT Applications

  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant, simply signed.
  2. Patent specification, claims, drawings, and abstract in French or English.
  3. Assignment of Invention and priority rights, executed by the inventor(s) if the applicant is not the inventor, duly notarized.
  4. Certified copy of the priority document, if priority is claimed (for non-PCT applications only).

For PCT regional phase application, the following items would also be required:

  1. A copy of International Publication with patent specification, claims, drawings, and abstract.
  2. A copy of International Search Report.
  3. A copy of International Preliminary Examination Report.

Note: Verified French or English translation of a document that is in any other language shall also be required.

Ways to obtain protection for design:
  1. OAPI Application (automatically covering all 17 member states)
  2. OAPI Application claiming priority in terms of the Paris Convention (automatically covering all 17 member states)
  3. An international application filed with the International Bureau of WIPO under the Hague Agreement designating OAPI – the protection granted as a result thereof would be effective in all 17 member states
Basic Information

Registration timeframe (straightforward case):6 to 8 months (approximately)

Types of designs: (1) Drawings; and (2) Models
Novelty: Novelty is a prerequisite for the designs to be afforded registration
Multiple figures: The application may comprise a number of designs not exceeding 100, provided they relate to the same class of the International Classification or to the same set or composition of articles
Convention priority: 6-month priority may be claimed
Locarno Classification: The Locarno International Classification is followed for filing the design applications. A separate application is required to be filed for each class
Examination: Design applications are subjected to examination as to form
Publication: At the time of filing the registration application, the applicant may request deferment of publication of the design after registration for a period not exceeding 12 months from the filing date, or if the priority is claimed, from the priority date
Opposition: There are no provisions for opposition
Protection term: Initial protection term is 5 years from the filing date; renewal for further two consecutive 5-year terms are possible bringing the maximum protection period to 15 years. The renewal fee shall be paid within the twelve months preceding the expiration of the current period of protection
Renewal grace period: A six-month grace period is allowed for late payment of renewal fee along with surcharge
Filing Requirements
  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant, simply signed.
  2. Drawings, photographs or other graphic representations of the article embodying the industrial design.
  3. Assignment deed, if the applicant is not the creator, duly notarized.
  4. A certified copy of the priority document.

Note: French or English translation shall be required of any document that is in any other language.

Basic Information
  • Works protected: 

Works expressed in writing, including computer programs; lectures, addresses, sermons and other works composed of words and expressed orally; musical works, whether or not accompanied by words; dramatic and dramatico-musical works; choreographic works and mimed works; audiovisual works; works of fine art such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, engravings and lithographs; works of architecture; photographic works; works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works relating to geography, topography, architecture or science; and traditional cultural expressions; translations, adaptations, arrangements and other transformations of works and of expressions of folklore; and collections of works, of expressions of folklore or of simple facts or data, such as encyclopedias, anthologies and databases, whether reproduced on a medium that may be processed by a machine or in any other form, which, by reason of the selection, coordination or arrangement of their contents, constitute creations of the mind.

 

  • Exceptions to copyright protection: The following are specifically excluded from copyright protection: (i) official texts of a legislative, administrative or judicial nature or to their official translations; (ii)news of the day; and (iii) simple facts and data.
  • Duration of copyright:Copyright protection term is 50 years after the death of the author, in addition to the lifetime of the author.

 

  • Copyright Registration: No local registration is required. Copyright comes into existence automatically upon creation of the work.

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