The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Centre, hosted a virtual seminar on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms for Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Disputes.

The seminarunpacked the different ways parties can approach intellectual property dispute settlements.

Common ADR processes include mediation, arbitration, and neutral evaluation, which are generally confidential, less costly, less formal, and less stressful than court proceedings.

The seminar was designed to capacitate Member States with the technical knowledge of how to navigate all the pertinent mechanisms of IP dispute resolution, with a special focus on copyright and related rights. The Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights, which was adopted in August 2021, provides for dispute resolution at the first instance. Therefore, as part of ARIPO’s obligations, the provision of support and direction in line with the necessary procedures such as mediation & arbitration to manage potential conflict ensure the continued promotion and protection of inventors, innovators and creators.

In his opening remarks, Director General Bemanya Twebaze indicated that the signing of the Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights by twelve (12) ARIPO Member States provided a better platform required to facilitate the mandates thereof. The Protocol will enter into force once five (5) countries deposit their instruments of ratification or accession with the Director General of ARIPO.

The Director General, therefore, encouraged the participants to be the ambassadors in their respective countries for the immediate uptake of the Kampala Protocol. As the necessary work is being conducted, he underscored ARIPO’s commitment to supporting the already existing ADR efforts in the Member States with the assistance of WIPO’s ADR Division which is already assisting and offering technical expertise for copyright and related rights disputes in some of the jurisdictions.

Countries that have signed the Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights are The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Sierra Leone, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Mr. Ignacio de Castro -Director, IP Disputes and External Relations Division, WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Centre, gave his remarks in the opening session and expressed positivity towards the increase in the number of parties who are opting for ADR over the years. Facilitators of the seminar included s. Maureen Fondo – Head of Copyright and Related Rights, ARIPO, Mr Leando Toscano – Head of Business Development Unit, Arbitration and Mediation Center and Mr. Oscar Suarez – Associate Legal Officer, WIPO.