South Africa: OAPI Update – Trademark Classifications
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On February 28, 2022, the OAPI Intellectual Property Office issued a notice advising that the registry requires that specifications for trademarks and services contain clear and accurate descriptions. As a general rule, trademark applicants are discouraged from using the general class headings used in the Nice Classification System, except in circumstances where it would meet the required standards of clarity and precision. The following descriptions contained in the Nice class headings will no longer be acceptable without delineation, as the registry deems them too broad or vague:
Class 7: machinery
Class 37: Repair; installation services
Class 40: Materials processing
Class 45: Personal and social services rendered by third parties to meet the needs of individuals.
The Registry also advised that the following product and service descriptions are considered too vague and should be clarified or delineated (to describe the nature, purpose or other characteristics of the products and services involved) when applicants seek to include them in brand specifications:
- Merchandising items
- Fair trade products
- Designer items
- gift items
- Household items
- Gadgets (electronic or not)
- Leisure items
- Promotional items
- Commemorative items
- wellness products
- Associative services
- Facilities Management Services
- Retail services
- Wholesale services
- Electronic products, appliances/instruments, electrical/electronics
In the event that a trademark applicant includes any of the above descriptions in a trademark specification without further delineation or clarification, the Registry reserves the right to issue a formal action requesting a correction and allow the applicant to respond. within 3 months from the date the office action is issued.
As a transitional measure, the Registry will not charge official fees for corrections that may be required for trademark applications filed between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022. Thereafter, correction fees will apply.
Industrial property titles
OAPI has confirmed that the Registry has now resumed the practice of issuing original registration and other industrial property title certificates, a practice that was suspended during the pandemic.
The IP Office OAPI is also deploying additional resources to eliminate the review backlog for all intellectual property registration applications.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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