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Intellectual Property

Africa
Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

ARIPO Trade Marks

The relevant protocol on trade marks for ARIPO is the Banjul Protocol. The protocol authorises ARIPO to register trade marks on behalf of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States. The Banjul Protocol establishes a trade mark application filing system along the lines of the Harare Protocol. An applicant may file a single application designating the specific contracting states either directly at the organisation or through a contracting state. States currently party to the Banjul Protocol are:

Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

It is important to note however, that not all the countries have incorporated the provisions of the Banjul Protocol into their national laws, effectively questioning the enforceability of ARIPO trade mark registrations in certain contracting states.

Trade Marks

Trade Mark Filing Requirements

  • Power of Attorney: Scanned copy of simply signed Power of Attorney. (no notarization or legalization required)
  • Details of the trademark(s): Word mark or logo. If the trademark is a logo, please send electronically. Details of colours claimed, if applicable.
  • Classes and list of goods and/or services: (try to limit to 5 items per application)
  • Details of the applicant: Full name. Nationality / country of incorporation. Physical address.

 Trade Mark Applications

An official trademark search is done by ARIPO and takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks. The usual timeframe from filing to registration is 24 to 36 months. After filing, when all filing requirements are complete, ARIPO will transmit the application to the designated countries(s) which must indicate acceptance or refusal of the application within 1 year from the transmission of the application.

Accepted applications will be published for a 3 months opposition period. An ARIPO trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of application and renewable every 10 years.

International and Regional Systems:

  • ARIPO
  • Madrid Protocol

Important Notice

ARIPO Protocol

To date only Botswana, Liberia and Zimbabwe have incorporated the provisions of ARIPO’s protocol on trademarks into their national legislation. As such, the validity of ARIPO trademarks in the remaining countries is unclear. At this stage, it is recommended that clients pursue national trademark applications in each African country of interest. We remain at your disposal to render advice as to which countries may enjoy a successful registration using the Madrid System.

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