OAPI Information Note of March 28, 2023 on the entry into force in OAPI of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications
14 April 2023
On March 28, 2023, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), through its Managing Director, Mr. Denis BOHOUSSOU, published an information note on the entry into force in the OAPI space of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (hereinafter the « Geneva Act« ).
The text aims to inform the public of the important progress made by OAPI in the field of industrial property rights protection. Indeed, since its accession to the Convention on 15 December 2022, the provisions of this text were not yet applicable in the seventeen States that comprise OAPI.
As a reminder, the Geneva Act, adopted on 20 May 2015, is an international convention which aims to protect appellations of origin and geographical indications of products whose quality is linked to their origin, in order to prevent any misuse or deception of these distinctive designations. It establishes standards and procedures for the registration and protection of appellations of origin and geographical indications, as well as for international cooperation in this field. The agreement offers producers the opportunity to add value to their products by using their geographical origin as a distinctive asset, thereby enhancing the quality and reputation of products on national and international markets. This enhancement involves a single international registration procedure with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for geographical indications in addition to appellations of origin.
From now on, under the Geneva Act, all OAPI Member States will be able to effectively protect both their appellations of origin and their geographical indications, such as the famous « Pain de Sucre du Plateau d’Allada pineapple » (Benin), « Chapeau de Saponé » (Burkina Faso), « Poivre de Penja » (Cameroon), « Café Ziama Macenta » (Guinea), « Kilichi du Niger » (Niger) or « Échalote de Bandiagara » (Mali), to name but a few.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the entry into force of the Geneva Act considerably consolidates the legal framework for the protection of industrial property rights within the OAPI area. This will enable African economic actors to better position themselves on the international trade scene, particularly with the emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA). Ultimately, it will offer African States the opportunity to promote and enhance their local resources, traditions and cultural heritage through their protected products. This approach can contribute to the economic and social development of local communities by preserving their culture and creating additional income opportunities.
 Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.