The Comoro Islands, situated off the south-east coast of Africa, has ratified the Bangui Agreement, thereby becoming one of the 17 member countries of The African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI).

The Bangui Agreement, once consented to, requires that the member states accede to the international treaties and conventions listed in the Agreement. The Agreement contains provisions to protect the intellectual property rights of the member countries and allows the right holder of the intellectual property protection in each member country. This protection is obtained by an application to the OAPI via a central registry in Cameroon.

From 25 May 2013 an OAPI application will therefore cover the Comoros as well as the current member countries which are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Before the accession, intellectual property right holders who sought to protect their rights in the Comoro Islands could only publish a Cautionary Notice as there were not yet legislated Intellectual Property laws in the country. With the accession, intellectual property rights including patents, utility models, trade marks (including service marks), industrial designs, trade names, geographical indications, layout designs for integrated circuits, new plant varieties and literary and artistic works can now be protected throughout the OAPI member states by a single application.

Welcome news indeed!