INTA President Leads Delegation to Cameroon

Published: April 1, 2019

INTA 2019 President David Lossignol (Novartis, Switzerland) and INTA Representative, Africa, Middle East and Intergovernmental Organizations, Tat-Tienne Louembe, met on March 4 with high-level officials in Yaoundé, Cameroon to further their collaborative efforts to strengthen intellectual property (IP).

The INTA delegation met with Director General of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI), Denis Bohoussou. The meeting gave new impetus to the cooperation between INTA and OAPI, with both organizations agreeing to accelerate the process of drafting a comprehensive work program focused on the promotion and protection of trademarks and related IP rights. Other matters raised during the discussion covered cooperation opportunities on geographical indications and industrial designs, and training.

The meeting was concluded by an exchange with the OAPI senior management team and interaction with master’s degree students from the University of Yaoundé II. With support from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in October 2010, OAPI launched a Master’s Degree course in IP at the University of Yaoundé II. This is a first in Francophone Africa and promises to further strengthen IP expertise in the region.

Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle

OAPI is a union of 17 predominantly French-speaking countries. The union was formed when the former Libreville Accord (concluded in 1962 by 12 countries) was revised in Bangui, Central African Republic, in 1977, and the existing Bangui Agreement was concluded. The Accords of Libreville and Bangui established common IP laws and a single IP office, located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, which serves as a central registration system for all member countries.

The INTA delegation and OAPI held a working session with Cameroon’s Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. The discussion centered on the following: the need for the Cameroonian government to draft adequate laws that address counterfeiting; combating fake pharmaceutical goods entering the marketplace; encouraging joint consumer awareness activities; providing training opportunities; and participating in INTA events. A key outcome of the meeting was the formation of a tripartite working group of Cameroon’s Ministry of Commerce, INTA, and OAPI to coordinate efforts in these areas.

A courtesy call also was paid to Cameroon’s Secretary of State to the Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Fuh Calisthus, during which INTA presented its 2018‒2021 Strategic Plan, global membership and advocacy work, and educational programming.

The visit concluded with a reception for local practitioners jointly organized with local INTA member Pierre Robert Fojou (Cabinet Fojou, Yaoundé-ékounou). The Président du Tribunal de Première Instance de Yaoundé-ékounou (President of the Court of First Instance of Yaoundé-ékounou), Max Lambert Ndema Elongue, spoke at the event, expressing the importance of fostering a culture of sharing best practices to promote efficient enforcement of IP rights.

INTA Representative Tat-Tienne Louembe supports the Association’s 437 members across Africa and the Middle East. In collaboration with the staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City and Representatives Offices around the world, Mr. Louembe works on the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives in these regions. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Africa and the Middle East, please contact Tat-Tienne Louembe at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2019 International Trademark Association