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.

At the invitation of the Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Officials lead by Mr Fernando Dos Santos, Director General, and Heads of IP Offices in ARIPO Member States, are attending the “China-Africa High-Level Seminar on Intellectual Property System and Policies” that is taking place in Guangdong, China from 23 to 29 July, 2017. The Seminar is organised by SIPO in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The main objective of the Seminar is to promote the exchange and cooperation on Intellectual Property between China and Africa. The seminar is also an opportunity for exchange of experiences and views on the IP system and policies. Participants to the Seminar are also exposed to practical application of Intellectual Property in various sectors including the Intellectual Property management and utilization by Chinese Companies (a visit at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Headquarters in Schenzen), the Industrial Designs Protection by an Industrial Design Profession Association, Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge Protection among others.

It is also important to note that the Seminar was organized within the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier between ARIPO and SIPO especially on the aspect of exchange of experiences between the two Organizations. 

On the margin of the Seminar, the Director General of ARIPO and the Commissioner of SIPO will hold a bilateral meeting to explore further areas of cooperation.

Also in attendance are other Heads of IP Offices in some other African Countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and South Africa).

The Tanzania National Roving Seminar by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is ongoing at the New Africa Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Seminar being held from 20-21 July 2017 is under the theme “Fostering creativity and innovation for economic growth and development in Africa.”

The Tanzania Roving Seminar was graced by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment (MP), Honourable Mr. Charles Mwijage who officially opened the meeting.

In his opening remarks, he said that Tanzania is working to enhance its economy through industrialisation but which cannot be achieved without Intellectual Property matters as innovation was at the centre of it. This would enable SME’s, researchers; creators to support the development and growth of the country.

Quoting a 2012 study on the Economic Contribution of the Copyright Based Industries in Tanzania between 2007 and 2010 conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Government of Tanzania, the Minister informed participants at the seminar that the copyright based industries contributed between 3 to 4.6% to the GDP which was higher than the hotels and restaurants as well as the mining and quarrying sectors contribution.

On the ARIPO protocols and WIPO treaties on intellectual property the Minister openly showed readiness for Tanzania to ratify the instruments and domesticate them.

The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, encouraged the researchers, creators, innovators (IP generators) to utilize the regional system.

He said that ARIPO receives many applications that designate Tanzania but few applications are received from the nationals of Tanzania. Statistics show that, of the total of 10041 patent applications filled at ARIPO since the inception of the system, at least 6492 designated Tanzania. With respect to industrial designs, utility models and Trademarks, total of 1198 applications of Industrial designs, Tanzania was designated 784 times; whiles, 43 out of the 96 utility model applications designated Tanzania. In the case of trademarks, out of a total of 2295 applications, 1877 designated Tanzania.

However, Tanzanian innovators and entrepreneurs are not yet taking full advantage of the membership of the ARIPO system. Only 9 patents, 12 trademarks and 60 industrial designs originated from Tanzania since the establishment of the ARIPO system, 40 years ago. This needs to change so that the local innovators can benefit from the regional system, said Mr. dos Santos.

This is the second leg of the series of National Roving Seminars that ARIPO is conducting in the United Republic of Tanzania this week. The first leg was held in Zanzibar 17 – 18 July 2017 at Golden Tulip Hotel.

The two day seminar will see participants discussing critical issues such as the compatibility of national laws to the regional and international legal framework, copyright and related rights for development, protection of new varieties of plant and geographical indications to enhance agricultural productivity and origin based products and Swakopmund Protocol for the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore: Opportunities and Challenges and enforcement.

The Seminars are supported by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan Patent Office. Also in attendance were: Mrs Joyce Banya, The Representative of the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Counsellor at the Africa Bureau, Mr. Yuji Nakayama, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Tanzania, who represented the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Mrs. Doreen Sinare, The Chief Executive Officer and Copyright Administrator Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA), Mr. Frank Kanyusi Chief Executive Officer, Business Registration and Licensing Agency, (BRELA) and Ms. Joyce Mosile, Acting Registrar Plant Breeders Rights Office who also made remarks.

Over 90 participants are in attendance including: The Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA), The Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA), The Plant Breeders Rights Office, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, National Data Centre, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Tanzania Film Federation, Dar es Salaam Police Academy, Creators, SMEs, Artists, Ministry of Home Affairs, The CommissionerTanzania Revenue Authority, Customs Department, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), School of Law, University of Dar es Salaam Business School, University of Dar es Salaam Institute of Information, Communication Technology-College of ICT, Chemistry Department, College of Natural and Applied Sciences University of Dar es Salaam, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Fair Competition Commission, Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA), The Managing Director CRDB Bank plc, Abenry & Co. Advocates, Abdulmalik & Surendra, AKIPLAW Advocates, NexLaw Attorneys, ABC Attorneys, Norton Rose Fulbright, Trustworthy Attorneys, Sokoine University of Agriculture Crop Science Department, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, ENS Africa, Copyright Management East Africa (CMEA), ENJIPAI, Tanzania Performance and Producers Rights Limited (TPPRL), Sugar Body of Tanzania, BPRA, FOREV AYMA, Vemma Consult Attorneys, Killindu Giattas & Partners, Multichoice Tanzania Limited (DSTV) and AKT2 Industries Ltd (ALASKA TANZANIA).