Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

OAPI Joins the Madrid System

December 5, 2014

The 17-member country Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) joined the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks today, providing brand owners in West Africa with potentially faster and cheaper access to international brand protection.

OAPI became the 93rd member of the Madrid System, following the deposit with the Director General of WIPO on December 5, 2014 of its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. The Protocol enters into force on March 5, 2015.

With this accession by OAPI, the Madrid System now provides brand owners the potential to protect their products through one international application covering more than 100 countries.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (right) receives OAPI’s instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol from OAPI Director General Paulin Edou Edou (photo: WIPO).

OAPI is the main organization that ensures the protection of intellectual property rights in most African French speaking countries. OAPI comprises: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Togo.

The Madrid System makes it possible for an applicant to apply for a trademark in a large number of countries by filing a single international application at a national or regional IP office of a country/region that is party to the system. It simplifies the process of multinational trademark registration by reducing the requirement to file an application at the intellectual property office in each country in which protection is sought. The system also simplifies the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record further changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step.