Data reveals significant drop in national registrations in São Tomé and Príncipe

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 that lasted until the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975.

The country has more than 200,000 inhabitants and is considered a paradise by many, yet it remains relatively unexplored by the tourism industry.


Global data analysis

Data from the past 15 years reveals that São Tomé and Príncipe has a disproportionately mixed trademark registration system. The Madrid Protocol came into force in 1995 and the country joined the WIPO Convention in 1998. In this sense, and because the country is known in practice for having applicant-friendly trademark procedures, most of the trademarks registered in São Tomé and Príncipe are international registrations. More than 14,000 trademark applications have been filed in the past 15 years. However, only about 3,000 are national filings. The rest are international registrations. The number of national applications has been in decline since 2004, reaching only 74 national trademark applications in 2020. Moreover, the number of overall registrations has decreased by around 16%. If we include trademark applications that designate Sao Tomé and Principe, 750 applications were filed in 2020 – 300 fewer than in 2019.



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 national applications specifically. The most widely used product for national trademark applications is tobacco.



The companies with the highest number of trademarks in São Tomé and Príncipe are as follows:

  • Apple Inc
  • Avon Products, Inc
  • Huawei Technologies Co, Ltd      
  • Novartis AG
  • ROLEX, SA          
  • Celgene Corporation (NJ)             
  • Omega SA (Omega AG) (Omega Ltd)
  • Intel Corporation (CA)
  • GUCCIO GUCCI SpA         
  • Nissan Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha (also trading as Nissan Motor Co, Ltd)     
  • Hyundai Motor Company            
  • L'OREAL              
  • British American Tobacco (Brands) Inc (DE)          
  • TISSOT SA           
  • Rigo Trading SA
  • Montres Tudor SA

The fact that this list includes no national companies indicates the little local use of the IP system by companies in São Tomé and Príncipe. Such use should be encouraged in the coming years.


Applicant nationalities

The countries with the highest number of applicants in São Tomé and Príncipe are as follows:

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

Topping the list is the United States, with almost 2,000 applications in São Tomé and Príncipe. In comparison, São Tomé companies own only around 200 applications. This demonstrates not only the United States’ international presence in the local marketplace but also its growing commitment to local commerce in São Tomé.


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

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