OAPI Suspends Agents Opposed to Madrid Accession
Following the initial controversy that surrounded OAPI’s accession to the Madrid protocol and threats to withdraw accreditation for agents who were vocally critical of this move (discussed in an earlier blog post here), OAPI has gone ahead to suspend two agents from the law firm Cabinet ISIS.
A recent notice on the OAPI webpage captured below and here sets out that Cameroonian lawyers Christian Dudieu Tips Djomga and Judith Samantha Tchimmoe Fezeu of Cabinet ISIS, as of January 21, 2016 have been temporarily suspended. Moreover, pending further examination of their disciplinary records, the two agents are barred from making any representations (even through intermediaries) to OAPI and practicing as salaried employees or professional representatives of any authorised OAPI agency.
OAPI has not given any reasons for the suspension but it is suspected that these agents were suspended because of their involvement in the the Collectif des Conseils en propriété industrielle (Collective of Industrial Property Counsel), a group of agents who claim the organisation’s accession to the Madrid Protocol is illegal and aim to reverse the decision.
While it is unclear if more agents will be suspended, trade mark owners need to monitor their OAPI cases carefully given the difficulties some agents have with OAPI in maintaining their licenses.
Update 4 February 2016: Following their intial notice on the suspension of Cabinet ISIS agents, OAPI has posted at a new notice on the matter. The notice while restating that the ISIS agents have been temprarily suspended also states that OAPI recommends that all parties who use/have used Cabinet ISIS as OAPI agents move their work to other agents as soon as possible. Towards facilitating the transition, OAPI states that it will waive the change of agent fee's.
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