On 20 July 2017, at a ceremony marking the departure of the Director General of OAPI, Paulin Edou Edou, a number of important announcements were made.
Among these announcements, it is clear that OAPI will not take kindly to criticism from lawyers who represent clients before OAPI.
This seems to be a consequence of the furore that arose after OAPI ‘acceded’ to the Madrid Protocol a few years back, when a number of OAPI practitioners claimed that the accession had not been done correctly, and that there were consequently real doubts about the validity and enforceability of international registrations designating OAPI.
This issue of whether or not the accession was legal has yet to be resolved by a court.
Mr Denis Loukou Bohoussou took over as Director General of OAPI on 1 August 2017. On 21 April 2017 World Trademark Review reported on the impending change by saying that “new leadership could mean a change in direction at OAPI.”
It went on to talk of a ‘period of transition’, and said that ‘one thing that remains fairly constant is uncertainty around OAPI’s implementation of the Madrid Protocol.’
It may well be that OAPI’s position on the Madrid Protocol and the resulting criticism changes.
Christian Dudieu DJOMGA