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Trademark registration in the Republic of the Congo

The Republic of Congo possesses many potential advantages for economic development of the country. Natural resources are abundant, the Republic of Congo is the second largest oil producer in Central Africa, contributing more than 60% of GDP and 85% of state budget revenues. In terms of forest resources, the Republic of Congo has the second largest forest area in Africa, with precious timber reserves. Congo also possesses rich mineral reserves, including copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, and iron. Congo has a strategic location along the Atlantic Ocean, favorable for international trade, it is also known as an important gateway to Central Africa, opening up potential markets for business activities. In addition, the Government of the Republic of Congo is investing in infrastructure development, including roads, railways, seaports, and airports that facilitate attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth. Therefore, more and more businesses actively invest and do business here. Because there are many competitors, trademark registration for trademark protection is important in this country. Viet An Law would like to guide customers preliminarily through the procedure for trademark registration in Congo through the article below.

Pesticide trademark registration

Legal basis

  • Decree No. 2001-238 of May 17, 2001 on the Protection of Industrial Property;
  • Other relevant legal documents

Definition of “trademark” in the Republic of the Congo

Congo does not have its own laws on Trademarks. However, the country protects the Trademark through its membership in  the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI). Here is the basic information about Trademarks in DRC:

Definition: A trademark in the DRC is considered a “unique mark” that helps consumers distinguish a particular company’s products or services from competitors. This definition is consistent with the general perception of Trademarks worldwide.

Protection: The OAPI Treaty on Trademarks and its Regulations provides the legal framework for trademark protection in the DRC. By registering the Claimant’s Trademark with the OAPI, the claimant will be protected in all 17 member countries, including the DRC.

Conditions for trademark registration in the Republic of the Congo

Uniqueness

The trademark must be unique enough to differentiate the host company’s product or service from its competitors. Trademarks must not be described generically, or misleadingly.

Legitimacy

Trademarks must not violate public order, morals or customs. A Trademark must also not infringe an existing intellectual property right, such as copyright or other Registered Trademark in OAPI member countries.

Graphical representation

The trademark must be able to represent it graphically. This means that it can be described visually, through words, symbols, logos, designs, or any combination of these elements.

Availability

The trademark must be available for registration in OAPI member countries. The Claimant may perform a preliminary search through the OAPI to ensure no Similar Trademark has been registered for the same or similar type of goods or services.

Territorial extent

By registering with the OAPI, the Holder’s Trademark is protected in all 17 OAPI member countries, including the DRC. This provides broader protection than just registering in the DRC.

Trademark registration documents in Congo

  • Application form: This form is available on the OAPI website (http://oapi.int/, note the website is only in French). The applicant needs to complete and accurately the required information.
  • Trademark Representation: Provide a clear and accurate image of the trademark the applicant wishes to register. This representation can be in the form of drawings, photographs, or digital files.
  • List of goods and services: A detailed listing of the specific products or services for which the applicant wishes to register a Trademark. Use the International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Classification) for an accurate classification.
  • Authorized representative (if applicable): If the applicant is a foreign applicant, it is usually necessary to appoint an OAPI-accredited agent to represent the applicant during the application process. In this case, it is necessary to provide a power of attorney allowing the agent to act on behalf of the applicant.
  • Official translation (if applicable): Depending on the language used in the application and OAPI requirements, an official translation into French of some documents may be required.
  • Registration fee: Pay the registration fee as stipulated by OAPI.

Additional documents (may require):

  • Evidence of prior use of the Trademark (if applicable).
  • Franchise Agreement (if the Trademark is franchised).

Trademark registration fees in Congo

Below is a detailed breakdown of Trademark registration fees in the DRC through the OAPI:

Application fee

First group of goods and services (a group of goods and services): About 322 USD. This fee includes registration for the first Group of Goods and Services in the application.

Additional groups of goods and services: About 161 USD per group of goods and services. If the Defender’s Trademark applies to more than one Group of Goods, Services, Goods or Services, the Claimant needs to pay an additional fee for each Excess Group of Goods and Services.

How to file a trademark application in Congo

To file for trademark protection in Congo, you can file using the following filing methods:

  • Direct submission: You can go directly to the office of the National Industrial Property Office of Congo  at Boîte postale 72 Brazzaville to submit your application and related documents.
  • By Post: You can send your application form and all required documents via postal service or courier service to the address of the Office of  the National Industrial Property Office of  Congo at Boîte postale 72 Brazzaville.
  • Submit online via website:

https://www.economie.gouv.cg/ When applying online, you should pay attention to the payment of the relevant fee in accordance with the instructions of the Congolese National Industrial Property Administration at Boîte postale 72 Brazzaville.

Trademark Application Processing Process in Congo

After filing the trademark application, the state agency will process the application within 8-12 months.

After filing the trademark application, the state agency will process the application in about 8-12 months, including the following processes

Formal appraisal

The Congolese Office of Corporate Work and Intellectual Property (OAPI) will check that the records are complete and comply with regulations. If the application is valid, OAPI will notify the applicant and proceed to the next step.

Application Publication

Information on the applicant’s application will be published in the Congolese Intellectual Property Gazette. Any third party may object to the application within 5 months from the date of publication.

Content appraisal

The OAPI will consider the applicant’s application for distinguishability, infringement of others’ intellectual property rights, and other requirements. If the application meets all the requirements, Congo IPO will issue a Trademark Registration Certificate.

Issuance of Trademark Registration Certificate

OAPI will make a decision to grant or reject trademark registration. If the application is denied, the applicant can request a reconsideration or new application.

Trademark registration service in Congo of Viet An Law Firm

  • Perform the search and notify you in writing of the results of the trademark search in Congo;
  • Draft documents and file and monitor the status of trademark filings in Congo on behalf of trademark owners;
  • Inform, advise and handle deficiencies/refusals of competent State agencies (if any) in the process of monitoring trademark applications in Congo;
  • Assist in monitoring, representing the resolution of objections and responding to intellectual property representatives carrying out procedures in Congo.
  • Receive dispatches, certificates and hand over to customers (if any).

If you need to file a trademark application in Congo, please contact Viet An Law Firm for the most effective support.

Disclaimer: This article was last updated in January 2024. Laws may have changed since then. Please contact Viet An Law to confirm the information in this article is current and for any legal assistance.

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