UN intellectual property agency welcomes African move on industrial design pact

UN intellectual property agency welcomes African move on industrial design pact

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The United Nations agency tasked with protecting ownership of intellectual property has welcomed the accession of an African group representing 16 countries to a key global treaty on industrial designs.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said in a statement issued yesterday that the move by the African Intellectual Property Organization (known as OAPI) is an important step towards ensuring that the design registration system is truly international.

OAPI acceded yesterday to the Geneva Act of The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, one of three treaties governing such registration.

Businesses in all participating countries under the treaty have access to a more simple and affordable method of both obtaining and maintaining their industrial design portfolios.

An industrial design is the ornamental or aesthetic feature of a useful object – such as its shape, surface, pattern or colour – that adds to its commercial value and increases its marketability.

OAPI comprises 16 member States: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.