The 17-member country Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) will join Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of trademarks this week, on 5 March.
This provides brand owners with a potentially faster and cheaper way to protect their trademarks in West Africa.
OAPI is the main organization that ensures the protection of intellectual property rights in most African French speaking countries, and comprises: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo.
The Madrid System makes it possible for an applicant to apply for a trademark in a large number of countries by filing a single international application at a national or regional IP office of a country/region that is party to the system. It simplifies the process of multinational trademark registration by reducing the requirement to file an application at the intellectual property office in each country in which protection is sought. The system also simplifies the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record further changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step.