Increase in IP fees could shake up filing in Ghana and Tunisia
Many African countries have raised their IP fees in the past few years. This is due to economic growth, a rising interest in protecting IP assets and the modernisation of countries’ IP systems. For example, in 2017, the Democratic Republic of Congo hiked up its prices by roughly 15% and South Africa’s Trademark Office announced an increase in official fees (effective from 1 October 2019). Egypt has also stated its intention to follow suit for industrial property services payments. This article focuses on Ghana and Tunisia, which have both raised costs for their IP services this year.
The Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Energy and Small and Medium-sized Entities issued Decree 29/2020, which declared a radical increase – effective from 27 January – in official payments across all types of IP service. Trademark prosecution fees have gone up by an astonishing 100%, patent prosecution services by 30% and industrial designs prosecution services by 20%. However, it is important to remember that these costs had not changed since 2001 – an update is therefore unsurprising and probably overdue.
Although a 100% increase may alarm brand owners and possible investors, in comparison with other countries outside and within Africa, Tunisian fees remain very reasonable and it seems highly unlikely that the volume of IP assets filings will be affected. The cost of registering a trademark is now $142, plus a registration fee of $36 per each trademark. Further, under normal circumstances, a trademark application is approximately $178 per class. Overall, Tunisia’s increase is not that significant when compared to other thriving African countries.
Ghana’s economy is growing steadily, which may justify the increase in industrial property-related applications and the consequent opportunity to hike up costs. On 19November 2019, the Ghanaian government reviewed its payment structure for industrial property services and allegedly decided that fees in this field will increase by 20%, which is a significant rise, especially with regard to patents. In accordance with the proposed new schedule effective from 19 May 2020, a trademark application will be $240, plus the issuance of the registration certificate, which is a further $240. Further, it will be $440 per class.
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