Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh, patents! OAPI - Rising IP star in French-speaking Africa

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
The OAPI, (pronounced as an acronym "ooapi" meaning in French, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, or in English AIPO – African Intellectual Property Organization [OAPI (1)], was created according to the provisions of the Bangui Agreement, ratified in the Central African Republic, in 1977 [OAPI (2)] . 
The OAPI (AIPO) currently regroups 17 members states from Central and French-speaking Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoro Islands, Congo, the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo.  
Headquarters of the OAPI (AIPO) are located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and there are National Liaison Offices for the OAPI in each of the member countries [OAPI (3)], acting both as National offices and central agencies, providing information, training and a location for filing applications. The OAPI (AIPO), like its counterparts in Europe (EPO) and at the United Nations (WIPO), offers a central agency for information, training, filing and examination of applications. Fees are paid a single time for protection in all member states. The OAPI (AIPO) also offers a graduate level Masters program in Intellectual Property. A new logo for the OAPI (AIPO) was unveiled in Sept 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (see image included above).

The bibliographic data sheets of patents granted by the OAPI (AIPO) are published in the official OAPI newsletter Bulletin Officiel de la Propriété Intellectuelle (BOPI). The latest issue of the OAPI BOPI, No. 12R/2013, dated October 3, 2014, published 44 bibliographic data sheets for recently granted OAPI (AIPO) patents. There are a total of 16215 patents granted by the OAPI (AIPO).

NB. The AIPO (OAPI) should not be confused with the ARIPO – the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, headquartered in Harare, Zimbawe, which regroups 19 English-speaking African countries, including: Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Somalia, Sudan, Swazilan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbawe. The ARIPO was created in 1976 according to the provisions of the Lusaka Agreement, ratified in Zambia.


OAPI (1) Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle OAPI (2) Accord de Bangui (3) BOPI – Bulletin Officiel de la Propriété Intellectuelle, 12BR/2013, p. 8. – African Regional Intellectual Property Organization

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