Five things you need to know – Middle East and Africa


The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation, the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) and WIPO conducted a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of discussions on the IP implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area. According to OAPI, the roundtable offered each participant the opportunity “to exchange their point of view on the importance of protecting and exploiting IP assets to improve competitiveness and access to regional and global markets”.


Amendments to the Harare and Banjul Protocols – adopted at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation’s (ARIPO) 43rd Administrative Council Meeting in November 2019 – came into effect on 1 January 2020. Among the changes to the Banjul Protocol was an amendment to the heading of Section 7, which now reads “Duration, Renewal and Restoration of Registrations”, in recognition of the fact that it allows for the restoration of lapsed registrations. Further, changes to the fee regulation mean that filing fees must be paid in US dollars on or within 21 days of filing. However, if the registrant is a national of an ARIPO contracting state, the fee can be paid in that country’s currency.


The Dubai police recorded 297 cases of counterfeiting and forgery in 2019, with a market value of approximately Dh2.5 billion, according to a report in The Khaleej Times. The statistics were obtained from the country’s General Department of Criminal Investigations, with Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jalaf, director of the criminal investigation department, declaring: “More than eight specialised companies from international brands have praised the efforts of the Dubai police in combating counterfeit products and preserving their intellectual property. These companies included Apple, Louis Vuitton, Richemont, Toyota and Reckitt Benckiser.”


In an appellate ruling delivered by Justice PJO Otieno, the High Court of Kenya in Mombasa (via Civil Appeal 251 (2017) consolidated with 252 and 253 (2017)) has reaffirmed that procedural correctness is a fundamental factor in determining disputes by the registrar. In a case involving Thermos, the High Court held that, once the registrar has issued a decision, the matter can be subject to review or appeal by the court only.


On 29 and 30 January 2020 the Nigerian Trademark Office, in accordance with Section 19 of the Trademarks Act, announced the release of new publications of the Trademarks Journal (Volume 1, No 1 (online) and Volume 1, No 1 (IP Automated System (IPAS)/pre-IPAS)). The publication of this journal has been highly inconsistent in the past; however, the registry has significantly increased its output over the past two years. The January publications cover online applications and IPAS applications, as well as manual or pre-IPAS applications, which deal with the backlog of marks that have been filed for more than 20 years.

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