Trade Marks in Africa
Trade Mark Filings, Prosecution and Protection
Our trade mark department consists of a team of skilled and qualified attorneys and paralegals who work closely with our clients to build interpersonal relationships and to structure the best bespoke trade mark filing programs suited to the client’s specific needs and requirements. For numerous clients in the luxury goods, pharmaceutical, automotive, energy, electronics or franchising industries, their success depends heavily on the protection of their brands. In order to protect their brands, our trade mark attorneys are able to assist with the filing, prosecution and enforcement of trade marks throughout the African continent. As the laws and political conditions in many African countries are constantly changing, it is important for our foreign clients to trust an African firm to stay up to date with the latest developments in each country and to advise them on the most cost efficient strategies to protect and enforce their rights. The diverse legal environment in Africa demands a dynamic and tailored approach to trade mark protection.
The Nice classification of goods and/or services assists in filing a trade mark application for the correct goods or services as it is an international standard for the classification of goods and services. There is a total of 45 classes (34 goods classes and 11 service classes). As there is no unified filing system or standard in Africa the countries’ local IP laws differ in respect of:
- the filing requirements;
- their membership to international conventions, such as the Paris Convention;
- whether they are part of either one of the two regional systems, being ARIPO and OAPI;
- whether they are part of the Madrid Protocol;
- whether multi-class applications apply; and
- any other peculiarities that need to be considered in a particular country.
It is also important to note that trade mark protection is not available in all African countries. Please contact us for more information. For further filing requirements for each of the African countries and for the various regional systems, please refer to the Africa page.
Smit & Van Wyk provides a full range of IP legal services in all African countries where Intellectual Property protection is available. We can provide information on the filing requirements in each of the African countries and can also offer information on the various regional IP organisations such as ARIPO, OAPI and the Madrid protocol. We work with a network of trusted and knowledgeable agents to develop the best possible solution to each of our clients’ IP needs in Africa.