Monday, 27 August 2012

A review of African official IP websites: no.7 Cameroon

This little Leo likes the idea of having a regional IP system in the continent, but one which has the benefit of a strong foundation. However, based on his discoveries on the A-Z tour, he is now wondering whether the current regional systems are having any negative effect on national offices or making their hosts complacent. 

Headquartered in Yaounde, Cameroon, the organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) is one of the two regional intellectual property (IP) organisations in the African continent with sixteen current members. As the OAPI prepares to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary under the theme, "intellectual property for development in Africa", its current website cannot even match the CIPC of South Africa. According to the celebration announcement (as translated by Google), discussions at the event would include: promoting intellectual property activities (Afro Leo would like to know what they are), developing the reputation of the organization (Afro Leo says that it is high time, and where else to start than its website: at least, sort out the important pages which are still under construction, e.g. here) and boost its brand image (“OAPI should be aiming to match its counterparts in Europe e.g. BOIP; utilise the internet generally" says Afro Leo).

Afro Leo was somewhat disappointed with Cameroon last year, so has anything changed in twelve months? Sadly, the answer is 'No'. In fact, things have actually gone from bad to worse as the only website found last year has suddenly disappeared. So there you have it: the host nation of the OAPI has no online presence.

At the moment, these findings (also see Zimbabwe, host nation for ARIPO ) somehow tarnish the reputation of the two regional IP organisations on the continent. In a digital age, it is fair to conclude that both have a long way to go in order to build the brand image we all wish for?
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Can you help the OAPI plan its fiftieth anniversary event? Submit your tender here
For more details on what the OAPI plans to celebrate, see here

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