What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a distinctive word or a combination of both which identifies certain goods and services of one producer offered for sale as being different from those of another. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment of royalty. A Trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. It is renewable for periods of 10 years.

Trademark Law and Legislation

ARIPO is mandated to register marks and the administration of such registered marks on behalf of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Banjul Protocol on Marks. The Banjul Protocol on Marks was adopted on November 19, 1993, at Banjul, The Gambia.

The Banjul Protocol establishes a trademark application filing system along the lines of the Harare Protocol. An applicant may file a single application either at one of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States or directly with the ARIPO Office. Since 1997, the protocol has been extensively revised in order to make it compatible with the TRIPs Agreement and the Trademark Law Treaty as well as make it more user-friendly.

States currently party to the Banjul Protocol are: Botswana, Cabo Verde, Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.


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Procedures for Filing of a Trademark

Filing an Application

An application may be filed by any qualified natural or legal person, either in person or through an authorized representative. The Authorized representative is a trademark agent or legal practitioner who is duly recognized by the national industrial property office of the contracting state as having the right to represent the applicant. Where the applicant neither is an ordinary resident nor has a principal place of business in any of the Banjul Protocol contracting states, such applicant must be represented on filing an application.

Contents of an ARIPO Mark Application

Application for registration of a trademark should be made on Form M1 (Application for registration of a mark or of a series of marks). The application form must contain the following:

  • the applicants name and address
  • designation of the Banjul Protocol contracting state(s)
  • corresponding class/ classes of the goods and / services in accordance with the Nice Classification
  • name(s) of colors(s) claimed if any) as a distinctive feature of the mark a reproduction of the mark in the form of a two
  • dimensional, graphic or photographic reproduction, a declaration of a actual use or intention to use the mark

Filing Routes

Applications can be filed directly at ARIPO by:

  • e-filing
  • email
  • in person
  • registered mail
  • courier

An application can also be filed through a contracting state.

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ARIPO Online Service

The ARIPO Office has introduced online services to allow applicants, attorneys, agents and other users to conduct their ARIPO business electronically. This facility allows for online filing of industrial property applications, online payment of fees, sending and receiving notification and general tracking of led applications. Click here for the ARIPO ONLINE SERVICE.

The online application comes with 20% reduction of the application fee.