Gambia Banjul Protocol
The Banjul Protocol on Marks became effective in The Gambia as of August 3, 2021, following the deposit of the instruments of Ratification to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) on May 3, 2021.
The use of the Protocol establishes a regional trademark registration system within the ARIPO, permitting the filing of one application, designating any or all of the Banjul Protocol contracting states for which the applicant wishes to obtain trademark protection.
The accession of the jurisdiction to the Banjul Protocol affords ARIPO mark applicants the opportunity to designate The Gambia as a state for protection. Moreover, as of August 3, 2021, nationals and residents of The Gambia are now able to file regional applications.
Established in 1993, the Banjul Protocol now has 12 member states including the new addition of The Gambia. Fellow contracting parties to the Protocol include Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sào Tomé and Príncipe, Eswatini, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
An application by way of the Protocol can be filed with the IP Office of an ARIPO member state which is party to the Banjul Protocol, or directly with the ARIPO IP Office itself. The application will be sent on to each individual state which has been designated by the applicant, and the trademark will be examined as per the national laws and requirements in each respective jurisdiction.
The Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) published the first Eurasian industrial design applications on July 29, 2021. The momentous occasion follows the commencement of acceptance of design applications by the EAPO under the Protocol to the Eurasian Patent Convention on the Protection of Industrial Designs, which began on June 1, 2021.
The Protocol itself was introduced on September 9, 2019, with the aim of establishing a system which allows applicants to file a single industrial design application, in the Russian language, to either the EAPO or a national office of a member state, accompanied by one set of fees which covers all contracting states to the Protocol. It initially entered into force in Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia on March 17, 2021, closely followed by Russia and Kazakhstan. It is underpinned by the Eurasian Patent Convention, to which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are contracting parties.
One of the two published applications was the first Eurasian industrial design application submitted by Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities on behalf of the Russian Federation, filed with the Rospatent, the national IP Office of Russia and further sent on to the EAPO. Also published in the bulletin on July 29, 2021 was a design application filed by IBN Asset Management Ltd on June 25, 2021.
The commencement of publications of design applications by the EAPO soon after the enforcement of the Eurasian Design Protocol demonstrates a commitment by the EAPO to simplify the design protection process in an efficient manner. Similarly, The Gambia joining the Banjul Protocol denotes an endeavour by the jurisdiction to modernise its trademark protection process and engage in international cooperations.