The new Malawi Act (cited as “Trademarks Act, 2018”) that was published on 2nd February this year is made of 83 Sections and repeals the existing Trademarks Act of 1957.

The Act caters for a number of fields that were not or poorly covered by the Act of 1957. Among those fields are the protection of service marks, registration of collective marks, certification marks and Geographical Indications, to mention but a few. The Act provides also for criminal offences that may attract fines and/or imprisonment up to ten (10) years in cases of infringement.

Noteworthy, the Act has formally domesticated the Banjul Protocol on Marks in the framework of ARIPO. Section 60 under Part IX of the Act (International Registration of Trademarks) stipulates that “Registration of trademarks in Malawi pursuant to the Banjul Protocol shall be made in accordance with the Third Schedule hereto”.

The Third Schedule hereto referred sets out the procedures relating to ARIPO trademarks. The Schedule provides among other things that “An application in which Malawi is a designated state which is accepted by the Trademarks Office (established by the Act) shall be registered by the Office (ARIPO Office) and published as accepted by Malawi in the ARIPO Journal”.

The Act can be consulted on ARIPO website on the following link: http://www.aripo.org/images/MS_Legislations/Malawi/Trademarks-Act-2018.pdf  

The first IP Roving Seminar for Academic and Research Institutions this year is being held at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from 26-27 March, 2018.

The seminar on the theme “Fostering Creativity and Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa” is a continuation of the roving seminars on IP organized by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) targeting institutions of higher learning in its member states.

“Science, technology and innovation are indispensable for social and economic development. In modern economies innovation is a source of ever increasing productivity and therefore rising wages and incomes, “noted Dr. E. Mtetwa, the Director of TechnoPark at NUST.

“We are delighted to host this seminar at NUST. This is a sign of our quest to improve academic research and innovation as well as build a knowledge-based economy in Zimbabwe,” added Dr. Mtetwa. He made opening remarks on behalf of the Acting-Vice Chancellor of NUST, Professor Samson Sibanda.

Last year, four seminars were conducted in partnership with Universities in Sierra Leone, Zambia, Swaziland and Rwanda. This year they will be conducted in Zimbabwe, Liberia, Kenya, Mozambique and Namibia.

According to the ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, this seminar is intended to enhance IP awareness in Academic and Research Institutions with a view to promoting the creation, protection and utilization of research results using IP tools for the economic and technological development.

“We are aware that there is a lot of creativity and innovation going on in our Academic and Research Institutions yet the benefits of this creativity, innovation and inventiveness may not be fully realized or adequately rewarded. This happens due to lack of awareness on the important role that IP plays in rewarding and promoting creativity and innovation,” added Mr. Dos Santos

The seminar which concludes on 27 March was organized in partnership with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Organization and the NUST TechnoPark department.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held a bilateral meeting at the ARIPO headquarters in Harare on 18 December, 2017. The meeting was convened to discuss the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the two Organisations on 9 December, 2016.

The two Organizations agreed on a work plan for the year 2018 that will see:

  1. The harmonisation of policies, laws and strategies to promote IP development for the benefit of the COMESA and ARIPO regions
  2. Joint IP awareness creation and capacity building initiatives taking advantage of the existing initiatives in the form of programmes being undertaken by the ARIPO Academy and the COMESA IP Hub
  3. Reciprocal representation by both parties in high level meetings of policy organs and governing bodies of the respective parties.

Mr Gabriel Masuku,Deputy Legal Counsel and Intellectual Property (IP) Coordinator represented COMESA while the Director General of ARIPO Mr. Fernando dos Santos led the ARIPO team in the bilateral meeting.

ARIPO headquarters building named best commercial property for 2017

The magnificence of the new ARIPO headquarters building did not go unnoticed as it was adjudged to be the best property developed under commercial projects category in the whole of Zimbabwe at the Zimbabwe Project Management Awards 2017 organized by the Chartered Institute of Project Managers Zimbabwe on Monday, 18 December, 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The annual awards are aimed at recognising and celebrating outstanding achievements in business and engineering project management throughout the country covering several sectors including ICT infrastructure, mining, manufacturing, property development, amongst others.

Situated in Belgravia – a diplomatic missions’ enclave in Harare – the ARIPO headquarters building comprises extensive office space, conference facilities, state-of-the-art auditorium, cafeteria and a beautiful garden to give the building an excellent ambience for conducting business. The conference facilities offer a variety of meetings packages that range from private spaces to ambient conference rooms that can accommodate up to 150 participants.

The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos received the award on behalf of the Organization at the awards ceremony in the company of other senior ARIPO officials.

The ARIPO Audit Committee comprising of Audit experts from its Member States namely Uganda (Chair), Mozambique, Lesotho and Sierra Leone is meeting at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe from 14 to 15 December, 2017 to review the implementation of the Organization's Audit Plan for 2017, Internal Audit activities for the year as well as deliberate on the proposed Audit Plan for the year 2018.

The session was officially opened by the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, who in his opening remarks, commended the commitment of the committee towards ensuring that the Organization conducts its mandate in a transparent manner and as given to it by the Member States.

Kick-starting the session deliberations, the Chairman of the Audit Committee, Mr. Alex Anganya, also commended the members of the committee for the sterling work they did in the year which was in turn applauded by the just ended 41st Session of the Administrative Committee of the Organization that was held in Lilongwe, Malawi in November 2017.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 8 December 2017 at the ARIPO Headquarters geared to increase awareness on Intellectual Property (IP) in Zimbabwe.

According to the ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, the MoU between ARIPO and ZBC will put in place a general collaboration framework with a view to creating the awareness among the large public on the importance of IP for socio-economic & cultural development.

"The media is an indispensable tool for awareness creation. We value this partnership with ZBC as the masses need to know about IP and its role in the economic development of a country. ARIPO is glad to be able to use ZBC TV and radio to reach majority of the population in Zimbabwe and educate them on IP rights," said Mr Dos Santos.

ZBC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Patrick Mavhura, said the signing of the agreement signified a new era in the history of ZBC and ARIPO. He said, "As a national broadcaster whose role is to educate, entertain and inform the nation on various matters of interest, the formalisation of the relationship between ARIPO and ZBC presents immeasurable opportunities for us to effectively execute this mandate."

Mr Mavhura noted that issues of IP are key in an integrated economic development process and hence the need for public awareness. The media therefore was an indispensable tool in educating the different publics on what intellectual property entails and the benefits it presents to their businesses.

The joint activities under the MoU will include airing of TV and radio programs that highlight the importance and benefits of using IP for economic development, youth programs that will promote innovation and creativity, coverage of ARIPO main events by ZBC as well as training of ZBC personnel by ARIPO on IP to improve the level and quality of reporting by the station.

The MoU signing ceremony was attended by ZBC head of sections and ARIPO's Executives and Heads of departments.