Madrid Protocol in Africa
The Madrid Protocol is an international system for obtaining trade mark protection in a number of countries and/or regions using a single application which results in an International Registration (“IR”). An IR can only be obtained for countries and regions which have joined the system. IRs afford a bundle of rights administered centrally via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Switzerland.
The Madrid system offers a convenient route to obtaining trade mark protection in many member states. However, it is important to note that one size does not fit all. In Africa there are a number of local considerations which impact on the validity and effectiveness of IRs. This can put trade mark rights at risk. It is important that these issues are taken into consideration when building a strong filing strategy.
The table below summarises the validity and effectiveness of IRs in the African member states.
As Cape Verde and Mauritius are the most recent African members, it remains to be seen how IRs designating either jurisdiction will be dealt with in practice by the local Intellectual Property Offices.
|Validity / enforceability||Not effective or valid: Domestic law does not provide for the Madrid protocol||Validity vulnerable to challenge||Fully valid and enforceable|