Types of Trademarks in ARIPO
We recommend choosing a wordmark as your first mark. It gives the broadest scope of protection and wordmarks are rarely changed, unlike logos.
Logo is recommended if the mark you are trying to register is considered weak (descriptive, for example).
A combined mark is a solid choice in many countries. But you must use your mark as it was registered at least sometimes. Therefore, a wordmark is still preferred as it remains the best value for money.
Countries included in ARIPO
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), formerly African Regional Industrial Property Organization, is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in patent and other intellectual property matters. Its 19 member states are mostly English-speaking countries; however, only 10 states are covered by the ARIPO trademark registration (Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Uganda).
Filing your trademark in ARIPO is the best option to cover these countries. At the same time, it is still possible to file your trademark country by country.
The Trademark Office applies the current version of the Nice Classification, you can find acceptable goods and services in this link. However, in Malawi and Uganda service marks are not approved.
Any questions? Contact us at [email protected]
Trademark Classification in ARIPO
A mark must be associated with products and/or services. These products/services are divided into 45 classes. The names of the products and services are determined either by the Trademark Office of ARIPO (Name of the office) or by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). The main list of acceptable terms is the Nice classification, but each country might have its variations.
Actual classification: Nice classification, 11th edition
If you already have a trademark anywhere, you can send us the details and we might be able to use the same list of goods. In any case we will check if the products are acceptable and help you create a description according to the local standards.
What can be registered in ARIPO?
Some trademarks can't be registered. In short, those are descriptive, misleading, offensive or generic marks (this is not the full list). Descriptive marks describe your products or services, generic are the names of your product, etc. Some cases are not straightforward and it's hard to determine if a mark is descriptive right away.
Some marks are weaker than others, even if the marks can be registered. There are suggestive marks like Microsoft, dictionary words with no direct association with the products or services such as Apple and made-up words or fanciful marks, i.e. Xerox.
The strongest marks are fanciful or made-up words, but from the marketing point of view, a suggestive mark might be more preferable.
If there are similar marks in ARIPO your mark might be refused or might receive an opposition. Similar doesn't mean identical. They can sound similar, mean similar things or look similar. There is no 100% algorithm to determine similar marks, each case is different and we rely on the experience of our attorneys.
During our study we check if your mark is registrable and search for similar marks. Once you get the results and our recommendations any uncertainty is removed and the process outcome becomes clearer.
Our Study helps to determine the probability of registration of your brand. There might be similar marks you are not aware of and by completing the Study we can give our estimated probability of successful registration. There are a lot of rules regarding what marks can and can't be registered and our attorneys will make sure that your mark does not contradict those rules.
If you want to have peace of mind that your brand will be registered within this timeframe and you won't have to pay extra for solving any problems you might order our trademark study.
Your Registration Plan
- Step 1. Start with a Free TM Search. We will check if there are any obvious conflicts. You will know if it's worth moving forward with the mark.
- Step 2. Learning more about your brand. To file a trademark, we will need to know the owner address and name, the trademark and if it has a logo and what services/products it covers. Are you ready to move to the next step?
- Step 3. Attorney's opinion (a.k.a. Study) In some cases we may recommend asking our attorney to review the case and prepare a detailed registration report. That's an optional non-obligatory service.
- Step 4. Request registration and submit your payment. The process is completely online and we'll request your mark within 3-5 days and you will get a filing confirmation.
Trademark Registration Process in the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization
Applying for your mark (we pay all the government fees and submit the application) - > Formal examination (if the list of goods/services is correct, if other details are correct) -> Substantial examination (if the mark is unique and registrable) -> Publication (allowing the public and other business to object against the mark registration) - > Registration
In ARIPO we will require a simply signed Power of Attorney in order to start the process. We will prepare the document for you.
How long does the process take in ARIPO?
The entire process in ARIPO takes 12-14 months provided that there are no problems during the examination and publication stages.
The mark is protected for 10 years from the moment of registration/application. The mark can be renewed for periods of 10 years.
You must use the mark in this country as you registered it. If you don't use your mark for 3-5 years, the mark will become vulnerable to cancellations and others will be able to cancel it if they decide to start this legal procedure.
What can you do with a mark?
You have an ownership confirmation and the mark becomes a point of value collection, meaning that whatever you invest into your brand or into its reputation will not disappear, but will "stick" to your trademark. Getting a registration will seal your ownership over this value. That's similar to buying a land lot to buy a house. Would you like to build a house on a land lot that's not even yours? Of course not. Ownership matters
When you register your trademark in ARIPO, you’ll be able to:
1. Take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters
2. Put the ® symbol next to your brand - to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it
3. Sell and license your brand
Bonamark takes care of more parts of the process than any other company out there. We are not here to just file anything we receive from you. We are here to check everything, prepare the document to avoid the common objections, enhance your product list for the optimal scope of protection and make sure that you don't have to pay extra and spend more time than you wish.
In ARIPO we file marks since 2016 and work with the most experienced attorneys in this country. We take full responsibility for your success and make sure that everything is done according to your instructions.
Bonamark is one of the most valued trademark registration companies with 4.9/5 rating.
A trademark is registered for 10 years and a hard copy certificate is issued. An example is attached below.
Once registered your mark will be valid for 10 years and can be renewed for periods of 10 years. Bonamark can renew your mark in the country.
The Trademark Office might refuse any similar mark for similar products, but we recommend getting a Trademark Watch in order to track any similar marks independently. This way you will be able to spot any similar marks and submit an opposition during their publication stage in order to prevent those marks from registering.
We offer free delivery of hard copies of registration certificates if those are issued in this country.
You have an obligation to use the mark in commerce. If you stop using the mark for 3-5 consecutive years your mark might be cancelled by anyone who starts the cancellation process
You must keep your details up to date, if the name of your company was changed you should submit the change at the Trademark Office, the same applies to the address. Otherwise, there might be difficulties when you have to enforce your mark and if you decide to sell it.
We offer Change of Address and Change of Name services and will help you to keep your details up to date.
We offer the following services in ARIPO:
- Trademark Search (wordmark only)
- Trademark Registration
- Trademark renewal
- Trademark oppositions
- Defenses in case of oppositions or objections/office actions in ARIPO
- Trademark assignment
- Change of name/Change of Address
If you are interested in any of these services, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is required to register a trademark in ARIPO?
You must be represented by a local trademark attorney, our attorney will represent you in this process.
- 1. Name of the applicant
- 2. Address of the applicant
- 3. Description of products/services the applicant commercializes
- 4. Details of the trademark
- 5. An original Power of Attorney
What is registrable as a trademark?
- Letters and numerals
- Devices (fancy devices, drawings and symbols).
- Coloured Marks (words, devices and any combination thereof in colour).
- Olfactory Marks (associated with a certain fragrance).
- Invisible Signs (that can be recognised by touch i.e. a sun ray or moon)
- Three Dimensional Signs (these are marks indicating the shape of goods or their packaging).
Free Registered Trademark Search in ARIPO
Trademark Application Fees
Trademark Registration Fees in African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)
- Trademark Search in one class: 249 USD
- Additional class: 69 USD
- Trademark Registration Request in one class: 1249 USD (10 countries)
- Additional class: 169 USD
- Registration fees in one class: 1249 USD (10 countries)
- Additional class: 599 USD
ARIPO Trademark Office
- Name of Office: The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)
- Address: 11 Natal Road Belgravia, Harare, Zimbabwe
- Phone number: +263 4 794065 - 68