Caroline van Dijk recently visited Madagascar for meetings with our associate office as well as the Intellectual Property Office ‘OMAPI’. Mr Christian Claude RAVOARAHARISON, the Director General of OMAPI saw this as a great opportunity for an exchange of information and ideas and invited Caroline to a round table discussion with the Heads of OMAPI’s IP Departments.

OMAPI celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014 and has been updating its systems to meet the expectations of users in the 21st Century. The staff have been busy with the implementation of the IPASS system which will come into operation during this year and should provide efficiencies for OMAPI’s staff and applicants. The electronic publication of the Bulletin has already been implemented and is has enabled OMAPI to catch up with a backlog of many years.

The IP law is currently under review and Caroline took this opportunity to make some suggestions for its modernisation and the additional services OMAPI should now be able to offer. Caroline drew attention in particular, to the lack of a trade mark opposition procedure and that at present the only action available is cancellation before a court; and also the lack of a procedure to remedy objections on absolute or relative grounds, where at present OMAPI issues an absolute refusal to which the only remedy is an appeal to the court or to file a fresh application. These points were noted and will be presented to the Law review Commission to be taken into account.