Patent Protection in AFRICA

Smit & Van Wyk International Limited Patent Attorneys specialise in the registration and protection of patents and industrial designs across Africa, including OAPI and ARIPO.


OAPI is a union of predominantly French-speaking countries with a single Intellectual Property Office that is situated at Cameroon, with common intellectual property laws effecting all member countries. It is NOT possible to obtain national registrations in these countries. Designation of specific countries is NOT required.

An OAPI application covers all member countries. These countries include:

Benin · Burkina Fasi · Cameroon · Central African Republic · Chad · Comoros · Republic of Congo · Ivory Coast · Equatorial Guinea · Gabon · Guinea · Guinea-Bissau · Mali · Mauritania · Niger · Senegal · Togo


ARIPO is a union of 18 African countries with the capacity to administer applications for patents and trade marks in its member states who are parties to the Harare (patents), Banjul (marks) and Arusha (plant varieties) protocols. All current Harare Protocol Contracting States are also signatory to the PCT.

An ARIPO application may cover selected member countries. These countries include:

Patents & Industrial Designs
Botswana · Gambia · Ghana · Kenya · Lesotho · Liberia · Malawi · Mozambique · Namibia · Rwanda · Sào Tomé and Príncipe · Sierra Leone · Sudan · Swaziland · Tanzania · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe