How Much Does an ARIPO Trademark Cost?
In one of our previous articles, ARIPO: Paving the Way to Patenting Across English-Speaking Africa, we discussed the answer to the question: “How Much Does an ARIPO Patent Cost?” In this article, we shall discuss ARIPO trademark filing and registration costs.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization
Let us first quickly recap what “ARIPO” is: ARIPO is an acronym for the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, which was established in 1976 under the auspices of the Lusaka Agreement. It is a regional Intellectual Property system that is comprised of mostly English-speaking African economies, with Mozambique (Portuguese), São Tomé & Príncipe (Portuguese), and Somalia (Somali and Arabic) being the non-English speaking member countries.
ARIPO is empowered by the Harare Protocol to grant patents/designs/utility models, and the Banjul Protocol to register trademarks.
The Banjul Protocol on Marks entered into force in 1997. Ten member states are signatories to the Banjul Protocol: Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
With the exception of São Tomé & Príncipe, the other nine countries have Common Law systems in place. Thus, for the Protocol to take effect in these countries, the relevant provisions would have to be embodied in the respective National Trademark/Industrial Property/Intellectual Property legislations. Such specific provisions regarding ARIPO trademarks exist only in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Liberia (João Francisco Sá; 2017). Even though the other countries are currently following the Protocol, the protection of ARIPO marks in these countries is questionable since they have not incorporated the provisions of the Banjul Protocol in their National legislations.
Trademarks in ARIPO
As per the Annual Report of ARIPO, the organization receives an average of only about 300 trademark applications per year. However, this number will most likely increase exponentially in the coming years as Africa becomes an increasingly favored investment destination.
An interesting aspect of the ARIPO trademark system is that ARIPO conducts only a formal examination, while substantive examination is carried out by the respective National Intellectual Property offices of the member states that have been designated in a particular application.
Therefore, there is a possibility that an ARIPO trademark application is accepted for registration in only some of the designated member states, while it is refused in the other designated member states. Due to this non-unitary nature of ARIPO trademarks, the organization has been unable to join the Madrid System (F.K Mpanju; 2012).
ARIPO Trademark Costs
Let us now discuss the costs involved in filing a trademark application with ARIPO and subsequently getting it registered. Typically, there are only two categories of costs involved: official fees and attorney charges.
As is the case with the other types of trademark costs, the costs are generally dependent on the number of classes of goods and services under which a trademark application is filed.
For the purposes of this article, we shall consider an ARIPO trademark application filed through the Paris Convention for protection under two classes. For instance, the two classes could be Class 10 (Medical Apparatus and Instruments) and Class 44 (Medical Services). Further, the ARIPO application, in which three member states have been designated, claims priority to a trademark application filed in the U.S.
An ARIPO trademark registration under two classes costs an estimated $3,300 (Table 1). The costs are inclusive of a 20% discount on the filing fee for Going Green (i.e. electronic filing), which is identical to what ARIPO offers for electronic patent filing.
An advantage of the ARIPO trademark system is that the fee schedule is published in U.S. Dollars. For the above scenario, the official fees to be paid at the time of filing the application are $260 (basic filing fee, fees for the first class per designation, and fees for an additional class per designation), while those to be paid at the time of registration are $450 (fees for the first class per designation and fees for an additional class per designation).
Trademark Cost Calculator
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Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Analyst, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.