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Protecting Your Geographical Indications in OAPI and Internationally

In this blog post, we will discuss the recent developments in the Intellectual Property Protection for Geographical indications in OAPI, the African Intellectual Property Organization. If you are a fan of products that showcase their cultural heritage through unique manufacturing techniques, then you will be delighted to know, that OAPI has reinforced its commitment to preserving and protecting such products. We will explore the benefits of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, which was applied on March 15th, 2023, and how this will create new opportunities for businesses and producers.

Expanding Geographical Indication Protection:

It is very important to consider the specific geographical origin of products as GIs (Geographical Indications) play a vital role in safeguarding products. The quality, characteristics, and reputation of products must be authentic and protected and through the implementation of the Geneva Act in OAPI, this is now a possibility. This act facilitates businesses and producers obtain international protection for their GIs in OAPI and member states of the Lisbon Arrangement.

Advantages of the Geneva Act:

The ratification of the Geneva Act offers several benefits for those seeking to protect their GIs:

1. Streamlined International Protection:

The Act simplifies the registration process by offering a single registration procedure, a unified procedural language, and a single fee payment in one currency. This streamlines the administrative requirements for obtaining GI protection, making it more accessible and efficient for applicants.

2. Extending Protection to Member States:

The Geneva Act allows an OAPI member state to extend protection to their GIs in 70 country members of the Lisbon Agreement. Think about the broader scope which enhances the international recognition and marketability of products from each respective country of origin.

3. Time-Unlimited Protection:

The Lisbon Agreement paves way for unlimited protection in other treaty member states and this is one more of its significant advantages. This provision will help maintain a long-term security for GIs, thus building brands and ensuring market exclusivity to business owners and stakeholders.

4. Validity for Legal Actions:

The registration obtained through the Geneva Act serves as a legal title for all actions related to the protection of GIs. This includes combating counterfeiting, infringement, and unauthorized use, providing a robust legal framework for enforcing intellectual property rights.

OAPI's New Initiative:

The OAPI office has implemented a website, dedicated to the promotion of the rich heritage of African products protected under GIs: . This website will act as a platform to raise awareness among consumers and facilitate market access for businesses, therefore the reach is broader.

How can we assist your smooth adhesion to this arrangement?

Seek Assistance from INLEX MEA:

If you are considering international projects involving GIs or need guidance on intellectual property matters, INLEX MEA's legal team is well-equipped to assist you. With over 20 years of experience in intellectual property, we offer comprehensive support and expertise to protect and promote your geographical indications on a global scale.

Finally, the implementation of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement in OAPI demonstrates a significant milestone in the protection of geographical indications. It is now easier to protect a product’s authenticity and cultural heritage, while also expanding your market reach. The Geneva Act is a facility that leverages international recognition for African products, resulting into economic growth and preservation of the cultural diversity.

Do you want to contribute to the sustainable development of local communities in the African continent? Remember, you can stand out by protecting your geographical indications, creating safe Intellectual Property registrations. Contact us on +230 260 1786 or reach out through , the team of INLEX MEA will be glad to assist you.

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