Following the Cameroonian government’s announcements to tackle the spread of COVID-19, the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) has taken a number of measures to assist its users during this pandemic.
OAPI has extended all deadlines that fall due between March 18 and April 30 to May 31, 2020. The deadlines cover IP right renewals and restorations as well as proceedings such as oppositions.
Effective from March 25, OAPI’s working hours are from 8:30 am – 1:30pm. Users can submit their applications during this time or use the deposit box if filing outside the working hours. This is likely to cause delay in some OAPI operations.
Public access to OAPI’s premises is restricted; only OAPI personnel allowed. Users can, however, communicate with the Registry via email or telephone. This measure reduces physical contact, thus complying with the social distancing recommendation.
OAPI suspended all restoration, opposition, and appeal hearings scheduled during this period. The restoration and opposition matters will be decided solely on written submissions. Appeal hearings scheduled between April 13 and 17 have been adjourned to a later date to be communicated to the parties concerned.
Several businesses have transitioned to working from home because of the public health measures announced by health organizations and the government. The courts have adjourned most of the hearings scheduled for March. In addition, because most businesses are closed, it is difficult for the bailiffs to effect service.
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Vanessa Halle (Partner)