Introduction of central opposition procedure for ARIPO marks.
Every year the ARIPO Secretariat (ARIPO’s governing body) invites stakeholders to submit proposals for the improvement of the ARIPO Protocols, which are then considered at a Working Group session held at the ARIPO headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe, early in May. The proposals that are approved by the Working Group are then put forward to the Technical Committee on Industrial Property for consideration and finalisation, and these finalised proposals are then tabled at the Administrative Council meeting (held in November in a different member state every year) for approval.
For the last few years, there have been requests for clarification of the opposition procedure for ARIPO applications, but the Working Group and Technical Committee both had difficulties on formulating an appropriate procedure and drafting the necessary amendments to give effect thereto.
This year, the Secretariat finally managed to put together a proposal that was acceptable to both the Working Group and the Technical Committee (after some amendments), and accordingly a new rule has been introduced into the Banjul Protocol on Marks (the ARIPO trade mark law) to provide for the procedure for lodging notices of opposition directly with ARIPO.
Substantively oppositions are still being dealt with in terms of the laws of the relevant member state(s), but this change in procedure for lodging oppositions is important to take note of.
View this article in World Trademarks Review here.
By Adré Pretorius, Trademark Attorney