Businessmen in Cameroon use signs, names, slogans, shapes, sounds, and logos to differentiate their services from consumers and other companies. Intellectual property is a category of property that includes the intangible creation of human intellect and primarily encompasses trademark registration in Cameroon, and patent, and copyright registration in Cameroon.
TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN CAMEROON
To secure trademark rights, an application shall have been prepared and filed for trademark registration in Cameroon with OAPI Cameroon by a Cameroon Intellectual property Attorney. The under-listed information shall be required for the search to be conducted ;
1 . Name, address, and nationality of the owner
2 . Specification of goods/services
Classes of goods/services
4) Priority claim and document (if any)
5) Assignment of priority right (if any)
6) Colour claim (if any)
7) Power of Attorney
Thereafter, the trademark registration in Cameroon commences when the mark is published in an official gazette, and if no opposition to the trademark registration in Cameroon, a trademark certificate shall be issued. Trademark registration in Cameroon is valid for 10 years renewable during the 10th year. The effect of registration is exclusive exploitation rights within the given territory covered by the organization.
The most common mistake businesses make is not securing their patent rights. patent owners are most likely to have their rights violated by free-riding counterfeiting or passing-off. In this event, the owner is advised to seize the competent court to order an injunction restraining such infringement and the infringer shall be fined between 1 to 3 million F.CFA francs, without prejudice to the right to compensation or infringement seizure. Any person wishing to obtain a patent in Cameroon shall file an application via a resident IP Attorney directly with OAPI Cameroon.
The under-listed registration information must be made available to the local representative in Cameroon :
1) Name, address, and nationality of applicant(s)
2) Title of the invention
3) Name and address of inventor(s)
4) Detailed description of the object of the invention
5) Formal drawings of the invention on the A4 size paper
6) Descriptive abstract of the invention
8) Priority claim and document (if any)
9) Assignment of priority right (if any)
10) Power of Attorney as the applicant is advisedly represented by an IP Attorney.
The IP Attorney shall enter the application in the Register of patent applications and the patent application shall be granted where appropriate.
Copyright in Cameroon
Copyright subsists in creative and artistic work (e.g. books, movies, music, paintings, photography, and software) and gives a copyright holder the exclusive right to control the reproduction of such works for a certain period of time. The biggest challenge copyright holders are faced in Cameroon is the high rate of piracy, plagiarism, and other forms of copyright infringement of moral and economic rights.
Copyright holders are advised to protect their works in order to obtain exclusive incorporeal property rights which shall be enforced against all other persons. OAPI Cameroon does not cover copyright but there exist professional associations of copyright holders that operate throughout the country. The organization for the collective management of copyright comprises 4 professional associations of copyright holders to defend their collective interest.
We have SCAAP which protects audiovisual and photographic works, SOCILADRA which protects literary and dramatic works, SOCAM which protects musical works and SOCADAP which protects works of plastic arts and graphics. The best way to deal with infringement is to seize the competent court which can order injunctions and the destruction of infringing products and equally award damages. Criminal procedures and penalties in respect of search and seizure shall apply mutatis mutandis to infringement of the rights protected.
The best strategy however is to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines, and copyright infringement under a governing body under the World Intellectual Property Organization such that right holders have access to civil administrative procedures in which judges can issue an order against a party to cease and desist from an infringement or that the pirated copyright goods and counterfeit trademarks be destroyed. As of now, there are no legislative changes to the IP regime that would make businesses’ live easier.
Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.