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OAPI update – Trade mark classifications

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Published Date: March 25, 2022

Trade marks

On 28 February 2022, the OAPI IP Office issued a notice informing that the Registry requires trade mark specifications of goods and services to contain clear and precise descriptions. As a general rule, trade mark applicants are discouraged from using the general class headings utilized in the Nice Classification system, unless in circumstances where it would meet the required standards of clarity and precision. The following descriptions contained in the Nice class headings will no longer be acceptable without delineation, as the Registry deems it to be too broad or vague:

Class 7:            Machines

Class 37:          Repair; installation services

Class 40:          Treatment of materials

Class 45:          Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.

The Registry also informed that the following descriptions of products and services are deemed to be too vague and should be clarified further or delineated (to describe the nature, intended purpose or other characteristics of the products and services concerned) when applicants seek to include it in trade mark specifications:

  • Merchandising items
  • Fair trade products
  • Designer items
  • Gift items
  • Memories
  • Collectibles
  • Household items
  • Gadgets (electronic or not)
  • Leisure items
  • Promotional items
  • Commemorative items
  • Wellness products
  • Association services
  • Facility management services
  • Retail services
  • Wholesale services
  • Electronic products, appliances/instruments, electric/electronic

In the event that a trade mark applicant would include any of the above descriptions in a trade mark specification without further delineation or clarification, the Registry reserves the right to issue an official action requesting correction, and allow the applicant to respond within 3 months from the date the office action is issued.

As a transitional measure, the Registry would not charge official fees for any corrections that may be required in respect of trade mark applications filed between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2022. Thereafter, correction fees will be applicable.

Industrial Property Titles

OAPI confirmed that the Registry has now resumed with the practice of issuing original registration and other industrial property title certificates, which practice was suspended during the pandemic.

The OAPI IP Office is also deploying additional resources to clear examination backlogs with respect to all applications for IP registrations.

For any information or queries in this regard, please contact africaip@adamsadams.com.

Lebohang Mosala
Senior Associate | Trade Mark Attorney
Stephen Hollis
Partner | Trade Mark Attorney

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