Trade Mark Protection in AFRICA

Smit & Van Wyk International Limited Trade Mark Lawyers specialise in the registration and protection of trade marks across Africa, including OAPI and ARIPO.

Transferring a Trade Mark

Trade marks can be transferred through assignment: Trade marks may be bought or sold like other commodities. Alternatively, you may wish to license your trademarks to another manufacturer, who will then pay royalties for the use of your trademarks. A trademark, like a patent, may even be hypothecated to serve as security.


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:

Trade Marks
Botswana · Lesotho · Liberia · Malawi · Namibia · Sierra Leone · Sudan · Swaziland · Tanzania · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe