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How Much Does an OAPI Trademark Cost?


Published on 7 March 2018

In one of our previous articles, OAPI: Paving the Way to Patenting Across French-Speaking Africa, we delved into the question: "How Much Does an OAPI Patent Cost?" In this article, we shall discuss OAPI trademark filing and registration costs.

Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle

Let us first quickly recap what "OAPI" is: OAPI is an acronym for the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, which was established in 1977, under the auspices of the Bangui Agreement. Like its sister organization, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization ("ARIPO"), OAPI is also a regional Intellectual Property system. However, unlike ARIPO, which is comprised of mostly English-speaking African economies, OAPI is comprised of mostly French-speaking African economies, with Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese) and Mauritania (Arabic) being the non-French speaking member countries.

Trademarks in OAPI

As per the last available statistics, the average number of trademark applications received by OAPI is significantly greater than those received by ARIPO. While the former receives an average of about 3,000 trademark applications every year (Hamidou Kone; 2012), the latter receives an average of only about 300 applications per year (ARIPO Annual Report 2015; 2016). These numbers will most likely increase exponentially in the coming years as Africa becomes an increasingly favored investment destination.

Unitary Nature of OAPI Trademarks

In contrast to ARIPO's trademark system, OAPI's trademark system has a unitary character and is not designation-based. All the 17 member countries of OAPI are, thus, automatically covered under a single trademark application. This unitary nature of the OAPI trademark system is similar to that of the trademark system administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, with the major difference being that the member states of OAPI do not have National Intellectual Property legislations.

The Madrid Protocol

The unitary nature of OAPI's trademark system facilitated its accession to the Madrid System; the Madrid Protocol came into force on March 5, 2015. However, since the accession was carried out by means of a resolution and not by amending the legal framework (i.e. Bangui Agreement), the legality of this accession has been the subject of a fierce debate that may have to be settled by a court of law (Spoor & Fisher; 2016). As a result, the enforceability of an international trademark registration in OAPI jurisdictions is hazy, with an aura of uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the Madrid Protocol (Tim Lince; 2017).

In light of the above, it may be in the best interest of foreign companies to register OAPI trademarks through alternative strategies, such as National applications or Paris Convention applications, until a clearer picture emerges on the legality of OAPI's accession to the Madrid Protocol (Daniela Dinis and Inês Monteiro Alves; 2017).

The costs given below are based on a trademark application filed with OAPI through the Paris Convention.

OAPI Trademark Costs

Let us now discuss the costs involved in filing a trademark application with OAPI and, subsequently, getting it registered. Typically, there are only two categories of costs involved: official fees and attorney charges.

As is the case with the other types of trademark costs, the costs are generally dependent on the number of classes of goods and services under which a trademark application is filed.

For the purposes of this article, we shall consider an OAPI trademark application for protection under two classes. For instance, the two classes could be Class 10 (Medical Apparatus and Instruments) and Class 44 (Medical Services). Further, the OAPI application claims priority to a trademark application filed in the U.S.

An OAPI trademark registration under two classes costs an estimated $1,914 (Table 1). The costs are inclusive of Value Added Tax (added to the attorney charges).

For the above scenario, the official fees to be paid at the time of filing the application are the basic filing fee and the priority claiming fee, which add up to $860. There is no official fee that needs to be paid at the time of registration.

Trademark Cost Calculator

Interested in getting such costs calculated? The Global IP Estimator is Quantify IP's flagship software that can be used as an international trademark cost calculator to instantly and accurately calculate the worldwide trademark costs for a single trademark family. The cost estimates are calculated based on our meticulous research of trademark legislations in 150+ jurisdictions. Specific stages of the trademarking process can be included or excluded from the cost estimates.

The Intellectual Property budgeting capabilities of many law firms and Fortune 500 companies have undergone a significant transformation since the addition of the Global IP Estimator to their toolbox. To see what we can do for you, email us at qipcontact@quantifyip.com, or call us at +1-808-891-0099.

Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Analyst, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rates Used: 1 US Dollar = 552.71 Central African Francs

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