Certain class headings under the International Classification of the NICE Agreement will no longer be accepted by OAPI
On 28 February 2022, the Director General of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle (“OAPI”) issued a Circular Notice informing all users of its systems that with effect from 01 January 2022, certain class headings, which it considers to be not sufficiently clear and precise, under the International Classification of the NICE Agreement will not be accepted by OAPI.
The class headings specifically mentioned in the Circular Notice include:
- Class 07 – 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.
OAPI continue to state that general indications in class headings or other general terms may only be used if they meet the required standards of clarity and precision, expressions that do not provide any clear and precise indication of the products or services to covered will now be refused by OAPI.
OAPI further states that expressions it considers to be insufficiently clear and precise, must be further clarified through the inclusion of specific terms, such as characteristics, purpose and/or identifiable market segment. Examples of such insufficiently clear and precise expressions include the following:
- Merchandising items
- Fair trade products
- Designer items
- Gift items
- 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
OAPI further states that they reserve the right to invite any applicant, deemed to have relied upon insufficiently clear and precise expressions, to provide acceptable terms and/or provide the necessary clarifications.
Additionally, as an interim measure OAPI has provided for the amendment of all applications filed between 01 January 2022 and 30 June 2022 with an exemption from payment of the normal correction fees.