ARIPO is participating in an exhibition headlined, “Engaging Audiences to Build Respect – Awareness-raising Activities” that has been organized to run on the side-lines of the Twelfth Session of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) taking place at the WIPO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from 4 – 6 September, 2017.

The exhibition features awareness-raising activities undertaken by various WIPO member states and IP organizations that are targeted at young people specifically, who are viewed as a key audience for IP awareness initiatives. The aim is to help develop a culture that respects IP rights of others at an early age.

ARIPO has a number of IP awareness tools it is sharing with the delegates attending the meeting. Among these is a pictorial video of various activities towards IP awareness the Organization undertook over the years that involved young people. The other tools on display are the copyright and related rights dice game that many delegates have expressed so much appreciation on, three volumes of cartoon based copyright story books for children, timed word puzzle and other general information brochures.

A Patent Drafting Course for patent agents drawn from 15 African countries has commenced today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). The five day course is being held from 4-8 September 2017 at the ARIPO Auditorium in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The course has been organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with ARIPO and the assistance of the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

The ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, while making the opening remarks said that the course was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding courses in the intellectual property training and capacity building repertoire as the patent system serves to provide protection for functional aspects of inventions and innovations.

According to Mr. dos Santos, lack of awareness of the IP system in Africa can be blamed for the small percentage of PCT applications originating from Africa. There is also minimal awareness of services that national offices and ARIPO offer to the African countries.

He said it was upon this premise that the three organizations engaged into overdrive to improve capacity and awareness in African on IP systems.

“Intellectual property (IP) systems are needed to promote innovations and develop industries in Africa,” said Mr. David Tsunakake, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe who was the chief guest and made the opening remarks on behalf of the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado.

He said that IP systems were also needed to encourage investments from the private sector of other countries, including Japan.

He added, “Building an environment that supports the creation and marketing of intellectual assets will play a key role in boosting Africa’s next engine of growth.

The Government of Japan established the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa for IP systems at the TICAD IV in 2008. One of the main pillars of the Japan’s Funds-in-Trust is to enhance the education in the field of IP.  At the TICAD VI held in Nairobi last year, Japan also pledged to train 1,000 people on IP systems in Africa. So far, ARIPO in partnership with WIPO have conducted the patent drafting course since 2015.

The course will be facilitated by Mr. Atif Bhatti who is the Associate Legal Officer, Patent Law Section, Patent Law Division, Patents and Technology Sector at WIPO. Other experts will include Mr. Bastiaan Koster, South African Patent Attorney with Von Seidels Intellectual Property Attorneys; Mr. Masaharu Kizu, Japanese Patent Attorney with Soei Patent & Law Firm and Mr. Robert J. Sayre, US Patent Attorney with Modern Times Legal.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Roving Seminar on Intellectual Property (IP) for Academic & Institutions is this month being held at the Kwaluseni Campus, University of Swaziland (UNISWA) from 28 to 29 August 2017.

The ARIPO Roving Seminars for 2017 theme has been “Fostering Creativity & Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa.” In Swaziland, the Seminar has been co-organized with the Intellectual Property Office of Swaziland.

The Seminar kicked off with remarks from the Director of Swaziland Institute for Research in Traditional Medicine, Medicinal Food Plants (SIRMIP), Prof P.S. Dlamini. She set the tone by explaining in vernacular, the concepts of Intellectual Property to the delegates, some of whom were traditional medicine practitioners.

The ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, explained to the gathering that directing the IP ‘gospel’ towards universities and research institutions was arrived at as this is where the generation of over 90% of knowledge is created.

Delegates at the Seminar were taken through the 'Principles and Concepts of Intellectual Property' by the ARIPO IP Development Executive, Mr Emmanuel Sackey.

Most of Universities and R &D Institutions in Africa do not have an IP unit or policy despite the high percentage of intellectual ideas being generated.

The Vice-Chancellor of UNISWA, Prof CM Magagula, expressed his profound gratitude to ARIPO for introducing IP at the opportune time to the university. He noted that the seminar marks the beginning of an establishment of an IP unit at the University.

Also in attendance was the ARIPO Head of Academy, Mr Outule Rapuleng, whose presentation delved into the acquisition of IP rights via national, regional and international routes. 

The guest of honor was the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Mr S. Nkambule, who was represented by the Registrar General of the national IP office of Swaziland, Mr Stephen Magagula. He also apprised the attendants on the IP landscape in Swaziland. His presentation, 'Intellectual Property Framework for Swaziland' was an update on how far the Kingdom of Swaziland was in regards to passing the leading related to IP laws and the challenges faced.

Over 120 delegates attended the seminar mostly from UNISWA, representation from the government as well as other stakeholders with links to research, innovation and traditional knowledge.

The official opening of 10th Cohort of the Masters Degree in Intellectual Property (MIP) Program at the African University (AU) will take place on Monday, 21 August 2017, in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) will fully sponsor 10 MIP students in the 2017 intake. Since the start of the MIP program in 2008, ARIPO has sponsored 64 students from Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the ARIPO Secretariat.

The MIP program is jointly offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Academy, ARIPO and AU.

The ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, will make the official opening speech. The occasion will be graced by the AU Chaplin, Rev/Dr. P.T. Chikafu; AU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Munashe Furusa; WIPO Training Officer, Mrs. M. Chikowore; Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado and representatives from the Government of Zimbabwe.  

So far, 250 students have graduated since the start of the MIP program in 2008.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, today officiated the annual Technical Committees meetings for the Seventh Session of the Technical Committee on Industrial Property, the Fourth Session of the Technical Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, and the Second Session of the Technical Committee on Plant Variety Protection that began are being held from 17-18 August 2017 at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The three committees will examine reports on activities and initiatives undertaken or planned this year by the Secretariat to ensure that they are in line with the mandates of the Organization.

According to the Mr. dos Santos, these activities and initiatives should be working towards the growth of the Organization and be in the best interest of ARIPO Member States.

More specifically, the Technical Committee on Industrial Property will focus on the improvement of the operations in the Industrial Property field and will among other things consider a number of amendments to the Harare and the Banjul Protocols to render them more user-friendly. 

The Copyright and Related Rights committee will look at the Report on Feasibility Study and development of policy framework for the establishment of a Regional Voluntary Copyright Registration and Notification system. This will promote the development and coordination between ARIPO, the copyright offices, Collective Management Organizations, right holders and other stakeholders.

The Copyright and Related Rights Committee will take into consideration the draft Africa Agenda on Copyright and Related Rights which was a result of the Symposium on Copyright and Related Rights that was held from 5 to 7 June 2017 at ARIPO. These items of the agenda and the rest will help shape the copyright and related rights systems in Africa.

The Technical Committee on Plant Variety Protection, which is meeting for the second time from its creation, will discuss among other things the draft Regulations for the implementation of the Arusha Protocol on Plant Variety Protection as well as other documents which are expected to support the operationalization of the Arusha Protocol.

This time round, ARIPO has also invited Member States and Civil Society representatives who provided relevant contributions for the improvement of the Draft Regulations. The countries include Malawi, Namibia, Uganda and the African Centre for Biodiversity.

After these considerations the committees will then make recommendations to give clear guidance to the next session of the Administrative Council to be held in November 2017 for possible adoption of the proposals and other technical matters under discussion.

The Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) signed an agreement with Airtel Malawi for the use of music (repertoire) as ringtones and downloads.

The agreement signing which took place on 4 August 2017 also marked the first distribution of Malawi Kwacha (MK), 94,000,000 (approximately US $134,000) being arrears to musicians for 2014 and 2015 from money collected from online licensing.

The top earner from the arrears paid was Skeffa Chimoto who took home MK 3,665,397 (approximately US $5120). He performed a thank you song.

This is a positive achievement in Malawi for the recognition by Airtel Malawi to remunerate the right holders for the online usage of their creative works as ringtones and downloads.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) encourages all Telecom Companies in the ARIPO Member States to pay artists royalties for the use of their works. Eventually, this will result to a society that respects copyright and encourages artists to continue with their creativity. This also applies to other users of copyright works like broadcasters, hotels, restaurants, learning institutions, copy shops and the like.