African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) Trademark Registration Process
The African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) handles trademark registrations for the following – mainly francophone – member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoro Islands, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
In contrast to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), OAPI does not have individual national trademark offices within its member states. Consequently, trademark registration can only be pursued through the regional OAPI system, and applicants are unable to specify particular countries for registration.
OAPI's establishment in March 1977, under the Bangui Agreement, aimed to foster collaboration among member states, create networks, and facilitate the sharing of shared resources. Notably, OAPI became a signatory to the Madrid Protocol in March 2015 and holds membership in the Paris Convention, further enhancing its international intellectual property connections.
01.   INITIAL TRADEMARK SEARCH
Mahtta & Co. strives to make the the trademark registration process smooth. We offer to conduct a trademark search for your proposed mark to give you an idea of how registrable your mark is in OAPI
02. PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION
If the search results are positive and the mark looks registrable, we can start preparing
your trademark application.
To help us prepare your application, we’ll need to know:
- Name of the Mark/ Logo/ Device prints or Visual Representation
- Name of the Applicant
- Address and Nationality of the Applicant
- Status of the Applicant i.e. Merchandisers/ Manufacturers/ Service Providers
- Specification of Goods/ Services and Class
- User date of the mark (whether the mark is in use or proposed to be used in OAPI
03. FILING YOUR APPLICATION
- The application procedure comes in two modes: regular, which takes about six months, and fast track, which takes about four months.
- Next your application will be filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and we will drop you an email confirmation of the filing.
- You will receive a trademark application number, You can chek the status of your application anytime on the website with this application serial number.
- Please note, we cannot change the mark that you register for, or the goods listed in your application once you file. For this reason, the goods listed in your application must be an accurate description of your actual products.
After receiving the application, OAPI experts will check whether the mark can be registered. If the application meets the formal requirements it is published by OAPI. * Unlike some other jurisdictions, OAPI primarily focuses on the formal aspects of the application rather than its substance during the examination.
05. REGISTRATION OF THE MARK
Upon the completion of the examination, OAPI issues a registration certificate. Importantly, this certificate is typically issued before the trademark is published.
It's important to note that the trademark registration at this stage is provisional, which means it can be challenged by any aggrieved third party.
Now that your trademark is registered, you can put registered mark symbol: ®
06. TRADEMARK PUBLICATION
The publication step is incorporated in the trademark registration to provide an opportunity for others to oppose the registration. So, anyone who wishes to object to the trademark registration has the chance to oppose the same. If, after six months from publication, there is no opposition, the trademark proceeds for registration.
If no opposition is filed within the specified period, the registration certificate becomes definitive, granting full trademark protection across all OAPI member states.
07. TERM AND RENEWAL
The trademark can be renewed from time to time for 10 years by payment of renewal fees, failing which the marks