TRADEMARKS FILING AND PROSECUTION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to help consumers indentify that its products or services with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to help distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
Trademark in Central African Republic may be designated by the following symbols:
- ® (for a registered trademark)
- ™ (for an unregistered trademark)
A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standards categories, such as those based on colour, smell, or sound.
A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services.
The owner of the registered trademark may initiate legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark.The members of the African intellectual property organization (OIPA) are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The OIPA are the union of the French speaking African Countries.
|Relevant office||Direction de la propriété industrielle; Direction générale de l’industrie du développement industriel|
Ministère de l’industrie, du commerce et des PMEs
|Nice classification||Yes (11th edition)|
|Multi class system||Yes|
|Documents required for filing trade mark applications||Simply signed Power of Attorney is required|
|Prosecution process||Filing publication of the mark in the trade mark journal opposition(within 6 months from the publication date) registration renewal|
|Registration term||10 years from the date of application|
|Renewal term||10 years|
Trademark searches in Central African Republic
It is advisable to conduct a trademark search prior to filing a trademark application to ascertain the availability of trademarks, existence of prior identical/similar marks on the register etc., so as to avoid any objection and opposition with respect to the mark.
A trademark search in Central African Republic can be conducted for word marks, device marks.
Trademark word search edition of Central African Republic follows the Nice Classification and trademark applications can be filed for goods in classes 1-34 and services in classes 35-45.
It is advisable to conduct comprehensive trademark clearance search in Central African Republic to ascertain availability of the proposed mark and also to overcome any objection and opposition with respect to mark later on.
Along with trademark search, it is also advisable to do a comprehensive company search and domain search of the proposed trademark Central African Republic. It is advisable to conduct a comprehensive search for a figuration trademark. The device marks include individual marks such as stylized letters, numerals, shapes, plants, celestial bodies, living creatures etc. or combination of marks containing device marks. A device mark search in Central African Republic can be conducted amongst the marks filed and registered as per the Vienna code classification.
Filing trademark applications in Central African Republic
A person may file multi class or single class trademark applications in Central African Republic
Trademark application can be filed in the following categories:
- Ordinary Applications
- Convention application (claiming priority from a convention country)
Ordinary application in Central African Republic:
Ordinary trademark applications filed in Central African Republic are applications without claiming any priority. An ordinary application is filed at the registry of Yaoundé (Cameroon). Ordinary application is also filed at the Liaison offices located in all member states, the office transfers the application to the Yaoundé for examination. The Liaison offices does not issue certificates or examine the application. The foreign applicants need a local agent. Multi class trademark applications can be filed in Central African Republic. However, the trademarks act also lays down provisions regarding the filing of priority applications, wherein priority of the mark can be claimed in the said mark filed in a convention country.
Priority trademark applications in Central African Republic/Convention trademark application in Central African Republic:
A priority trademark application may be filed in Central African Republic. A priority trademark application should be filed in Central African Republic within 6 months after the date on which the application was made in the convention country.
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris, France, on March 20, 1883, established a Union for the protection of industrial property. It offers national treatment to the applicant residing in the member country of the union, in other words. National treatment is a very important concept and is essential for successfully achieving the fundamental aim of the Paris Convention. The idea is to provide equal treatment to applications from member countries, in a given member country and not to differentiate between the nationals of member countries for the purpose of grant, and protection of industrial property. Priority application can be filed in Central African Republic within six months of after the date on which the application was made in the Convention Countries.
Trademark classes for goods and services
Central African Republic follows the nice classification of classes. The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) uses the nice classification of classes that groups together similar goods or services into 45 different classes. Classes 1 to 34 are assigned for the goods and classes 35 to 45 are assigned for the services. Each class contains well defines list of terms and cover all the goods and services.
Trademark examination in Central African Republic
Once the application for the registration is submitted it goes through the examination stage. OAPI carries out the formal and substantive examination of the application. In the formal examination according to the Article 9 of the act the application for the registration is examined and checks whether all the requirements are completed like giving description of goods and services and the requisite fee has been paid or not.
Any applications which does not comply with legal requirements of the Article 3(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the act are refused. Article 3 (a) deals with distinctiveness, (c) deals with contrary to public policy, (d) deals with mislead the public or business circle, (e) deals with if it imitates or incorporates which indicate control or warranty of states or intergovernmental organizations.
Trademark opposition in Central African Republic
Once the application for registration has successfully completed the examination stage it is accepted and published in the official gazette for the third party observation. Any interested party may file a notice of opposition within 6 months from the date of publication. The decision will be given after filing submissions with the office.
Any party who is aggrieved by the decision of the opposition may file an appeal to the high commission of appeal within 60 days from the notification of the decision. 
Registration of trademark in Central African Republic
The application shall proceed to registration where there is no opposition or where the opposition was filed and was decided in favor of the applicant. The mark is registered for a period of 10 years from date of application and the registration certificate is issued.