October 14, 2020

OAPI joins TMClass and DesignClass

The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) acceded to both TMClass and DesignClass as of September 14, 2020.

Applicants for OAPI will now have access to the harmonised database of goods and services (HDB) of TMClass. This tool allows for the search and translation of goods and services in 44 different languages across participating offices. The addition of OAPI to the tool now means that TMClass now consists of 12 non-EU offices and over 80 countries in total.

TMClass is facilitated by EUIPO, which has been implementing expansion programmes over the recent years which are hoped to allow for growth of international use of the tool. This will assist trademark applicants worldwide and is hoped to steadily increase ease of access to information for intellectual property applicants.

OAPI's accession to DesignClass grants applicants access to a comprehensive list of terms from the harmonised database of product indications (HDBPI). This is a vital tool to the database, allowing for the exchange of integral data which will be readily available for users to utilize. Applicants will be able to search and translate product indications in 28 various languages using the tool.

OAPI marks the 11th IP office outside of the EU and the 38th IP office overall which is privy to the harmonised database.

Earlier this year, a project named Intellectual Property Rights Action for Africa, funded by the EU and the EUIPO, assisted Uganda in joining the database tools. The decision for OAPI to join is one which will undoubtedly encourage further applications across the region, owing to the increase of information available to assist in filing for IP protection.

The new addition to the tools demonstrates global efforts to expand both the tools and international cooperations. This in turn will assist applicants from across the world in protecting their IP, alongside an increase of applications.

Author: Danielle Carvey