The ARIPO Director General, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, attended the European Patent Office (EPO) celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the European Patent Convention (EPC) in Munich, Germany, on the 5th of October 2023. 

The EPC was signed on the 5th of October 1973 by 16 Countries and came into force in 1977. Through the EPC, the EPO has developed one of the world's strongest patent systems with internationally accepted standards of patent examination and quality. The Harare Protocol, which governs the administration of Patents in the ARIPO region, was inspired by the EPC. 

ARIPO and EPO have a longstanding cooperation through which many positive results have been achieved. This includes the ARPET Programme to build the capacity of patent examiners at the ARIPO Secretariat, Member and Observer States to search and examine patent applications efficiently, the Patent Libraries (PATLIB) IP awareness on patents and innovation for African universities under the Knowledge Transfer to Africa project, as well as the access to a full range of supporting tools and procedures such as EPOQUE Net.

EPO’s continued support of the ARIPO IP System’s growth is a testimony of EPO’s commitment to enhancing cooperation between the two organizations to support innovation and economic development in the ARIPO region.