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  • Writer's pictureAisha Playton


Digitisation of OAPI trademark filing

June has been a busy month for the African Intellectual Property community! In a significant advancement for intellectual property rights across its member states, OAPI (Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle) has recently implemented a major upgrade to its filing system. As of June 2024, OAPI will now accept digital applications for company registration and trademark filings, marking a decisive step towards modernisation and efficiency in African intellectual property management.

Unpacking the Benefits of Digitisation

The transition to digital trademark filings within the OAPI system brings several notable benefits. For OAPI employees and agent firms, the most significant is a reduction of the administrative burdens associated with the physical filing of applications. The digitisation of this system will undoubtedly also lead to an acceleration of the processing timeline for trademark applications and recordals, paving the way for quicker reviews and responses from OAPI authorities.

For businesses and entrepreneurs operating within OAPI member states, this development presents a host of advantages.Firstly, the digital submission process enhances accessibility, enabling applicants to initiate and monitor their trademark applications conveniently from anywhere with internet access.

Furthermore, the digitisation of this area of the system will support accuracy and completeness of submissions, reducing the likelihood of errors that could delay the registration process.

Legal Considerations and Implementation Details

The digitisation of the OAPI system relating to trademarks will apply to trademark searches and filing of trademark applications, in addition to the processing of trademark renewals, records and oppositions.

From a technical perspective, stakeholders should be aware of the specific requirements and procedures associated with digital trademark filings under the new OAPI system. Detailed guidelines regarding the virtual prosecution of such applications are crucial aspects that applicants and their agents must adhere to for seamless submissions and compliance with OAPI regulations. To facilitate this, OAPI is conducting educational sessions to educate agent firms on the protocols required moving forward.

It is also important to note that while trademark applications can now be filed online, agent firms will still require physical copies of an applicant's supporting documents to be filed manually with the OAPI registry.

Looking Ahead: Future Prospects and Adaptation

As OAPI continues to refine and expand its digital infrastructure, stakeholders can anticipate further improvements in service delivery and additional functionalities to support intellectual property management.

The digitisation of the OAPI trademark and company registration process underscores the organisation's dedication towards developing a progressive, efficient, transparent, and accessible system for the management of African intellectual property rights. This move also will support Africa's ambition to claim a spot at the table as a competitive intellectual property market.

Would you like to initiate the filing of your trademark application via the OAPI system? We can help! Please email our IP Prosecutions team at and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


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