ARIPO celebrates 40 years of existence (1976-2016) and Inauguration of the new ARIPO Headquarters on the 9th of December 2016.

The Fortieth Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO has begun in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Session is scheduled to consider, from 5 – 7 December 2016, several documents on the administrative aspects of the Organization including the proposed budget and programme of activities for the year 2017, proposals to amend some of the ARIPO treaties to continually keep them in line with international trends.

Mrs. Virginia Mabhiza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe officially opened the 40th session. In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary applauded the council members for having taken the organization this far.

The Administrative Council session preludes other events that are coming in the week namely; the ARIPO-WIPO IP Conference and 40th Anniversary celebrations which will culminate in the inauguration of the new ARIPO headquarters building on Friday, 9 December, 2016.

The Republic of Liberia became party to the Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore within the framework of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) on October 25, 2016 (the date on which the Instrument of Ratification was deposited with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe).

The ratification of the Swakopmund Protocol by the Republic of Liberia brings the number of Member States party to the Protocol to eight (8).

The Protocol was adopted in Swakopmund, Republic of Namibia by a Diplomatic Conference on August 9, 2010, and came into force on May 11, 2015.

The Protocol aims to protect the overall traditional knowledge and folklore of Africa to ensure that it is properly utilized for the welfare of its people.

In its continuous efforts to promote the use of the ARIPO route in the protection of intellectual property rights in Africa through direct engagements with the users, on October 10, 2016, the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos met representatives of Italian IP firm Praxi Intellectual Property, SPA. With its headquarters in Turin, the IP firm has other offices in Genoa, Milan, Padua, Rome and Venice. Its activities are focused on all facets of intellectual property – patents, trademarks, designs, utility models and copyrights – including search procedures, registration and granting of rights, management of cases or actions aimed at preventing counterfeiting as well as economic and asset-related valuation of intangible assets.

During the meeting, Mr. Fernando dos Santos apprised Praxi Intellectual Property of the current trends of sustained economic growth and development in Africa and the opportunities this offers in terms of the need for protection of IPRs in that region. Bemoaning, the low numbers of applications originating from the Italian companies, Mr. dos Santos highlighted and explained the benefits of using the ARIPO route for the protection of IPRs in its Member States.

The parties explored the possibility of using the ARIPO route, the designation of ARIPO in the Patent Cooperation Treaty files and how they can promote the ARIPO system in Italy and Europe in general.

Praxi Intellectual Property, S.p.A was represented in the meeting by Giulio Crosetto, Partner and Chairman, Praxi Board; Mara Crosetto and Cesare Testore (partners); Marco Andreoletti, Managing Director; Elisabetta Lisa, IP specialist and Davide Cerrano, a senior officer.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has with effect from 31 October 2016 made its published industrial design data available on the Designview search tool.

Designview is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) administered tool which provides a centralized access point to view the registered design information held by a number of participating offices, including ARIPO. 

With ARIPO on board, Designview now contains data from 52 offices providing information and access to more than 10.1 million designs in total.  

Since the introduction of Designview on 19 November, 2012, the tool has received more than 2.1 million searches from 146 different countries, with Germany, Spain and the UK among the most frequent users.

The integration of ARIPO is a concrete result of the EUIPO’s international cooperation framework in collaboration with its international partners. ARIPO embarked on this project in order to support the availability of IP information to the public the world over.

The ARIPO designs on Designview may be accessed on www.tmdn.org.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the National Institute of Copyright (INDAUTOR) an agency within the Ministry of Culture of the United Mexican States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s General Assemblies in Geneva on 6 October 2016. The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, and the Director General of INDAUTOR, Mr. Manuel Guerra Zanarro, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective Organizations.

Areas of cooperation under the MoU include:

  1. The development of joint activities to address issues of mutual interest in the field of copyright and related rights, including coordination of joint seminars and workshops;
  2. Where applicable, development and organization of specialized activities focused on relevant areas of copyright and related rights, including the establishment, strengthening and support for collective management societies;
  3. Where appropriate, undertake studies on copyright and related rights in cooperation with other national, regional and international Organizations;
  4. Strengthening capacities of copyright offices, collective management societies, and copyright and related rights at national and regional level;
  5. Provision of relevant technical information and means to support the work of the Parties, including response to requests from their members;
  6. Technical cooperation, as appropriate, on issues related to international instruments in the field of copyright and related rights, and other relevant policy documents developed or administered by the Organizations, which address matters of mutual interest; and
  7. The exchange and publication of articles by specialists from both sides in the available media.

ARIPO looks forward to implementing this MoU in order to improve the copyright and related rights status of its Member States and Africa at large.