On 3 May 2021, Gambia deposited its instrument of accession to the Banjul Protocol on Trade Marks. Thus, Gambia may be eligible for designation in ARIPO from 3 August 2021 – Gambia to join the Banjul Protocol from 3 August 2021.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) is an intergovernmental organisation for English-speaking African countries that provides for the filing of a single trade mark application through a central filing system that may cover all eleven designated countries, or selective member states designated by the applicant. The current countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé e Príncipe, Uganda, Tanzania (mainland) and Zimbabwe.
However, at present, no reference is made to the Banjul Protocol in the Gambia Trade Marks Act. Therefore, the designation of Gambia in an ARIPO trade mark application will have no effect. Until the Banjul Protocol is incorporated into Gambian law, hopefully before 3 August 2021, it is recommended that national trade mark applications are filed in Gambia.