CAMEROON IP GUIDECentral Africa | OAPI Member

Intellectual Property Guide Cameroon
Cameroon is an independent state in West Africa. It is bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Nigeria, on the east by Chad and the Central African Republic, and on the south by the People’s Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Area: 475 442 km2

Population: 23.4 million

Capital: Yaoundé

Currency: CFA Franc

GDP: $ 81.5 billion (2017)

Trade Marks

Trade mark protection is obtainable only in terms of the Bangui Agreement by way of a filing with the OAPI IP office.

Patents

Patent protection is obtainable only in terms of the Bangui Agreement by way of a filing with the OAPI IP office.

Designs

Design protection is obtainable only in terms of the Bangui Agreement by way of a filing with the OAPI IP office.

Copyright

Provision is made for copyright protection in OAPI member countries in terms of the Bangui Agreement.

In Cameroon a national copyright law has been enacted – Law no 2000/011 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights.

Plant Breeders' Rights

Provision is made for plant breeders’ rights to be obtained in terms of the Bangui Agreement by way of a filing with the OAPI office.

Company Law

Business vehicles

There are two forms of companies commonly used by foreign investors:

  • A private limited company.
  • A public limited company.

Competition Law

Law

  • Law No 98/013 (Competition Act).
  • Decree No 2005/1363/PM (Competition Decree).

Competition Law is enforced by the National Competition Committee, based in Yaoundé.

Consumer Protection

Currently Cameroon does not have any promulgated consumer protection laws.

However, Cameroon may have some specific statutes which contain provisions that directly or indirectly relate to consumer protection under certain circumstances.

Data Protection

Currently Cameroon does not have any promulgated data protection laws. However, Cameroon’s constitution recognises a right to privacy. Some specific statutes may also contain provisions that directly or indirectly relate to data protection.

Dispute Resolution

Each region has a Magistrate’s Court and a High Court. Appeals from these courts are heard by provincial Courts of Appeal who, unlike the common law Court of Appeal, may re-examine the facts of a dispute. The Supreme Court gives final judgment on appeals from the provincial Courts of Appeal and is the final level of appeal in civil, penal, commercial and labour matters. Unlike the Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Court may only review the application of the law.

Employment Law

Governing legislation

The Labour Code Law No. 92/007 of 1992.

Particulars of employment

An employment contract may be recorded in a form that is convenient. The maximum probation period is 6 months, except for managerial staff for whom the period may be extended to 8 months.

Forms of contracts

  • A contract for an unspecified duration.
  • A fixed term contract limited to a maximum term of 2 years and renewable to 1 additional term.
  • A company seeking to hire a foreign employee must obtain approval from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Exchange Control

There are exchange controls in Cameroon and there are specific licenses and registrations which are required. Exchange control is regulated by the Commission Bancaire de l’Afrique Centrale (COBAC).

Foreign investors are free to transfer funds out of Cameroon representing normal and current payments for supplies and services effectively performed, particularly in the form of royalties and sundry remunerations.

Tax Law

Taxation in Cameroon is applied both directly and indirectly while customs duties are prescribed at different rates on various goods under the Cameroon Tax Code. A nonresident is taxed on Cameroon sourced income, whilst residents are taxed on their worldwide income.

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