Africa has more than 1.2 billion consumers which is projected to double in the next 30 years. It makes trademark registration in Africa become increasingly important. However, gaining Africa trademark protection has proven to be difficult. There are often long delays in the process of African trademark registration application and numerous challenges to brand holders. The political situation in some African countries can also cause unforeseen problems with filing trademarks. It requires the constant vigilance of the practitioner together with up-to-compare date on the ground knowledge.
There are two regional IP organisations in Africa: OAPI (the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle with 17 members, mostly French speaking countries), and ARIPO (the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation with 19 members, mostly English speaking countries). The countries which are not members of either organisation include Nigeria, South Africa and a number of countries in Northern Africa.
The OAPI joined the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of trademarks in 2014 and it is thus possible to designate the OAPI in an international trademark application.
The OAPI member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo, and a trademark upon registration will be protected in all member states of OAPI. Under the current version of the OAPI Bangui Agreement, a trade mark is first registered and only thereafter published for opposition.
As the member states of OAPI do not include some African countries, we suggest filing trademark applications in those key African countries on a case-by-case basis in addition to OAPI trademark registration to have a wider protection in the African markets.
Duration of Application: About 6-12 months
Mark Validity: 10 years from the date of application
Mark Renewal: Renewal application for 10 years may be submitted 6 months before the expiry.
For enquiry of the Africa trademark registration or other international trademark application, please contact us for free trademark consultation.