Africa and the Hague Agreement - Tunisia Joins the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement
The Republic of Tunisia deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs on 13 March 2012.The Geneva Act will enter into force in the Republic of Tunisia, on 13 June 2012.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system for industrial designs. This agreement provides for the protection of industrial designs in several countries and organisations by means of a single international design application, filed with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The design application must designate the countries in which the applicant wishes to secure design protection. In other words, a single international design application may be filed designating several countries instead of having to file separate national applications in each country.
An international design registration has, in each designated country, the same effect as if the design had been registered in the country concerned and is subject to the relevant national law. The designated countries retain the right to exclude from protection any designs that do not qualify for protection under their national laws.
In terms of the Hague Agreement, multiple designs may be included in a single design application but all products relating to the design must fall in the same class under the Locarno classification. Revocation proceedings may be brought against a registered design on the grounds that it does not qualify for protection in terms of the national law of any of the designated countries.
Of the contracting parties to the Hague Agreement, 14 are from Africa. If one designates all possible African contracting parties in an international design application, one ends up with a total of 22 African countries covered by the design application.
The African countries and regional organisation that have acceded to the Hague Agreement include:
- Benin (member of OAPI)
- Gabon (member of OAPI)
- Ivory Coast (member of OAPI)
- Mali (member of OAPI)
- Niger (member of OAPI)
- Republic of Rwanda
- Senegal (member of OAPI)
- Republic of Tunisia
OAPI which currently has 16 member countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
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