22 December 2014

OAPI to join Madrid

Good news came from Geneva and Yaoundé recently with word that OAPI will join the Madrid Protocol on 5 March 2015.

I understand there are still some regulations to be adopted locally at OAPI HQ but these were under discussion during a recent Council meeting.

A previous blog ensuring OAPI is not confused with ARIPO (or others) still attracts hits and is linked here for reference. It may also be worthwhile reminding readers of the member states - with a total population of an estimated 165 million people:

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Côte d'Ivoire 
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Senegal 
  • Togo

Perhaps not surprisingly given the geographic coverage, official fees in OAPI are quite high. Under the Madrid Protocol, although they will be converted into Swiss francs, OAPI plans on individual fees corresponding with the official fees for direct filings.

My firm has handled a number of cases in OAPI and we may experience a decrease in local registrations. However, membership of the Madrid Protocol should see an increase in trademarks being protected across the OAPI members and this should benefit the countries concerned.