Data reveal a significant drop in national registrations in São Tomé and Príncipe

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São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country located on the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. The country consists of two islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, respectively. The official language is Portuguese due to the Portuguese occupation which lasted until the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975.

The country has over 200,000 inhabitants and is considered by many to be a paradise, but it remains relatively unexplored by the tourism industry.

Global data analysis

Data from the past 15 years shows that São Tomé and Príncipe has a disproportionately mixed trademark registration system. The Madrid Protocol entered into force in 1995 and the country acceded to the WIPO Convention in 1998. In this sense, and because the country is known in practice for its pro-applicant trademark procedures, most registered trademarks in São Tomé and Príncipe are international registrations. Over 14,000 trademark applications have been filed over the past 15 years. However, only around 3,000 are national repositories. The others are international registrations. The number of national applications has been declining since 2004, reaching only 74 national trademark applications in 2020. In addition, the total number of registrations has decreased by around 16%. If we include applications for trademarks designating Sao Tome and Principe, 750 applications were filed in 2020, 300 less than in 2019.

Classification

Class 9 (software) is the most popular Nice class for trademark applications in São Tomé and Príncipe. However, Class 35 is the most popular for domestic applications in particular. The most widely used product for national trademark applications is tobacco.

Candidates

The companies with the most brands in São Tomé and Príncipe are:

  • Apple Inc
  • Avon Products, Inc
  • Huawei Technologies Co, Ltd
  • TOYOTA JIDOSHA KABUSHIKI KAISHA (also marketed as TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION)
  • Novartis AG
  • ROLEX, SA
  • Celgene Corporation (NJ)
  • Omega SA (Omega AG) (Omega Ltd)
  • PHILIP MORRIS PRODUCTS SA
  • AUDI AG
  • Intel Corporation (CA)
  • GUCCIO GUCCI SpA
  • Nissan Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha (also marketed as Nissan Motor Co, Ltd)
  • Hyundai Motor Company
  • L’OREAL
  • British American Tobacco (Brands) Inc (DE)
  • BASF SE
  • TISSOT SA
  • Rigo Trading SA
  • Watches Tudor SA

The fact that this list does not include any national companies indicates the low local use of the intellectual property system by companies in São Tomé and Príncipe. Such use should be encouraged in the years to come.

Nationalities of candidates

The countries with the highest number of candidates in São Tomé and Príncipe are:

  • United States
  • China
  • Switzerland
  • Portugal
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • UK
  • France

Topping the list is the United States, with nearly 2,000 applications from São Tomé and Príncipe. In comparison, companies in São Tomé only have around 200 applications. This not only demonstrates the international presence of the United States in the local market, but also their growing commitment to local commerce in São Tomé.

This is a co-published article, originally published in the World Trademark Review (WTR).



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