Prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization © 2012
The African Intellectual Property Organization (better known under the acronym OAPI for its French name, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle) is the main organization that ensures the protection of intellectual property rights in most African French speaking countries. OAPI was created on March 2, 1977 under the Bangui Agreement to introduce a uniform law on intellectual property and to create a common industrial property office in Yaoundé, Cameroon. OAPI replaces the African and Malagasy Intellectual Property Organization (better known during its existence under the acronym OAMPI for its French name, l’Office Africaine et Malgache de la Propriété Industrielle), which was established by the Libreville Agreement of September 13, 1962. OAPI is composed of 16 Member States: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo.
In each Member State, OAPI serves as both the National Office of Industrial Property and the Central Agency for documentation and information regarding Intellectual Property. The Organization also provides intellectual property training and participates in the development of policies for its Member States.
The Bangui Agreement of 1977 was signed and adopted in Bangui, Central African Republic. It entered into force on February 8, 1982. The Agreement was last revised on February 24, 1999 to bring it in compliance with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) administered by the World Trade Organization. It is divided into 10 annexes that comprise various intellectual property rights. According to its Article 43, the Agreement Revising the Bangui Agreement of 1999 (hereafter the Agreement of 1999) entered into force two months after the deposit of instruments of ratification by at least two-thirds of the Member States. Togo was the twelfth State to deposit its instruments on December 27, 2001. The Agreement of 1999, together with Annexes I to IX came into force on February 28, 2002 for all Member States. The Annex X came into force on January 1, 2006. The date of entry into force of the Agreement of 1999 would remain February 28, 2002 for all States even if some States had previously ratified the Agreement or if they had not ratified it yet.
The Bangui Agreement acts as a common Code of Intellectual Property as the principles and provisions of the Agreement have the force of national laws in each Member State. The intellectual property rights set forth in the Bangui Agreement are independent national rights, subject to the legislation of each Member State. No domestic legislation is issued to give effect to the Bangui Agreement as it constitutes the national law in each Member State. Also, should there be any conflicts between an International Convention and the Agreement, the International Convention shall prevail.
|States||Accession to the
1962 Libreville Agreement
|Accession to the
1977 Bangui Agreement
|Ratification Date of the
1999 Revised Bangui Agreement
|Benin||September 13, 1962||March 19, 1983||December 18, 2003|
|Burkina Faso||September 13, 1962||June 1, 1983||June 8, 2001|
|Cameroon||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||July 9, 1999|
|Central African Republic||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||April 24, 2004|
|Chad||September 13, 1962||November 5, 1988||November 24, 2000|
|Congo||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||October 19, 2001|
|Côte d'Ivoire||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||May 24, 2000|
|Equatorial Guinea||-||November 23, 2000||November 23, 2000|
|Gabon||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||December 27, 1999|
|Guinea||-||January 18, 1990||July 13, 2001|
|Guinea Bissau||-||July 8, 1998||August 14, 2003|
|Mali||-||September 30, 1984||June 19, 2000|
|Mauritania||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||July 5, 2001|
|Niger||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||May 28, 2002|
|Senegal||September 13, 1962||February 8, 1982||March 9, 2000|
|Togo||-||February 8, 1982||November 29, 2001|
 Annex I: Patents; Annex II: Utility Models; Annex III: Trademarks and service; Annex IV: Industrial Designs; Annex V: Trade Names; Annex VI: Geographical Indications; Annex VII: Literary and artistic property; Annex VIII: Unfair Competition; Annex IX: Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits and Annex X: New Varieties of Plant.
 Agreement Revising the Bangui Agreement of March 2, 1977, on the Creation of an African Intellectual Property Organization, Bangui, February 24, 1999, Article 43§1, [Hereafter Agreement Revising the Bangui Agreement].
 See Annex 1.
 Agreement Revising the Bangui Agreement, supra note 2, Articles 4§1 and 4§2.
 Ibid., Article 3§1.
 Ibid., Article 17.