Design protection is only obtainable via OAPI. It is not possible to obtain design protection via a national filing.
OAPI Design Applications
All member states are included in a design application:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo.
Member countries have renounced their national sovereignty to convey to the applicant a single title of protection valid in each country. Designation of countries is not required. All OAPI applications are in respect of all member countries.
OAPI Filing Requirements
Power of Attorney
No set deadline.
Drawings or photographs of the design required upon filing.
Description of novelty is required upon filing.
Deed of Assignment
Must be filed within 3 months of the filing date.
(if applicable) Must be filed within 3 months of the filing date.
Priority can be claimed 6 months from the first filing date according to the Paris Convention.
Duration and Renewal
The design has an initial term of 5 years from the date of filing, with possible extensions of two further terms of 5 years each upon payment of the required renewal fees. There is a 6-month grace period to pay the fees.
OAPI Design Agents
Smit & van Wyk, Inc. design agents in Africa: Our services include design filings, maintenance and protection for OAPI. The patent attorneys at our firm are dedicated individuals, skilled in their fields of practice, and can provide clear advice on complex legal matters to clients from all over the world.