When one thinks of IP protection in Africa, a simple “trademark registration in Africa” or “intellectual property registration in Africa/specific country” search on Google should be good enough to solve their problem. However, this is not always the case as the search results in most cases bring more confusion. Simply put, the search results do not “really” point to Africa or specific jurisdictions. With Africa being regarded as the next frontier of growth, simplified and accessible IP protection in that continent becomes imperative. This in turn means access to reliable and competitive IP services providers becomes a priority!
The African IP landscape is one that is not easy to figure out and understand for an outsider, notwithstanding the fact that the same, in some cases, also applies to some local African IP practitioners. Having mentioned the issue of access to reliable and competitive service providers in the introduction, accessing only a handful of countries in a continent of 55 countries is not enough. As a result global businesses and individuals are met with restrictively high costs of IP protection on the continent due to agent mark ups (up to 90% in some jurisdictions). Way before the Covid-19 crisis, research and interactions with a few senior IP counsel especially for the tech and manufacturing industry showed the need for measures to reduce pressure on budgets associated with IP filing and prosecution costs. The advent of the Covid-19 crisis might have increased the already existing pressure and the need for efficient and cost-effective IP protection services especially in Africa.
Hence the urgent need for innovation that disrupts the whole African IP services value chain!
Great IP Services at the Right Price
Typically most intellectual property filing and prosecution quotations from a handful of the top African firms (based on quotes by resident attorneys) come with significant mark ups. AfricanLaw is cutting those costs by deploying technology and connecting the world directly with local resident IP agents or attorneys in every African jurisdiction. AfricanLaw is introducing an African IP services marketplace (web & mobile app) where businesses and individuals across the world and those in Africa can easily and efficiently access all-inclusive ready-quoted IP services from reputable Agents and attorneys with no hidden costs or mark ups. The new platform will be driven by a virtual community of resident IP agents and attorneys from every African country under the AfricaIP Network™ banner also hosted on the same platform.
An online marketplace of all-inclusive ready-quoted IP services that include all costs from local resident IP agents and attorneys covering official fees, professional fees, Disbursements and Courier fees. While clients can track their orders/services and updates online, service providers will have access to an intuitive dashboard that allows them to manage their matters, clients and payments on the go. The platform’s online store will be the gateway to IP services across the African continent at clients’ fingertips.
“One simple and secure platform for communication and data exchange between clients and IP agents as well as a built-in collaborative IP Management tool for IP agents and attorneys”
Over the years, we have come to understand the difficulty that foreign clients and associates face when it comes to access to reliable and verifiable information. On the same platform, the AfricaIP Guide™ provides clients with key information regarding filing requirements (documents required and general information) for the most popular IP titles in every African country. This information is verified and confirmed by members of the AfricaIP Network™ in each African jurisdiction. The foundation of this community is IP experience and expertise in each member’s country of residence. Out of experience, we understand the crucial need to reduce risk especially in jurisdictions where IP laws are considered not well developed or are not supported by good public institutions. As such, our vetting process for the AfricaIP Network™ listing prioritises local experience and expertise and there is no room for mistakes!
For clients and foreign associates, there is more comfort that comes with a feeling of "knowing" the agent or associate they are dealing with in Africa as opposed to where the relationship is completely impersonal and "faceless". As such, AfricanLaw's platform will also have a video conferencing capability to allow the much needed personal interaction with attorneys and agents.
Generally, there are numerous advantages of e-commerce but for AfricanLaw, there is more value in those advantages accruing to local IP practitioners and global clients as we work towards disrupting the IP services value chain of the African continent. Key among the advantages are as follows:
- A seamless, efficient and cost effective IP protection process that gives our global clients peace of mind.
- Competitive and fixed pricing - Up to 60% (or more in some jurisdictions) reduction on professional fees costs that extends to the instructing clients.
- A time saving solution through consolidation of work with no numerous emails and quotations from different agents.
- Reliable network of AfricanLaw's verified IP attorneys and agents across Africa.
- Coverage of the African continent backed by a significant understanding of the landscape.
- Virtual AfricanLaw assistants for smooth service delivery
- Agent/attorney ratings and reviews by clients and foreign associates.
- Simplifying the IP protection process across the African continent.
With improved access to IP services providers and competitive pricing, we plan to continue to disrupt and significantly improve the continental statistics and its appeal to those who need to protect their IP titles in Africa.
If you are looking to significantly reduce costs and the administrative burden of organising and instructing multiple agents for your IP work in Africa, there cannot be a better solution than AfricanLaw Africa!