ARIPO Lines Up IP Enhancing Activities For 2017 13/01/2017 by Munyaradzi Makoni for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)CAPE TOWN, South Africa – From establishing training schemes, exchange expertise, sharing research, and helping members acquire and develop technology related to intellectual property and shape copyright associated rights, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has set targets for implementation in 2017. ARIPO marks 40th Anniversaary The work in response to ARIPO’s strategy from 2016-2020 is set to promote harmonisation and development of intellectual property in the region. The strategy was crafted on the backdrop of the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (“PESTEL”) environment in which ARIPO operates. Factors have driven ARIPO to improve its operations, such as: low political will to harmonise legislation on intellectual property; weak administration of IP offices in Africa and limited awareness on intellectual property issues particularly copyright issues in communities; lack of IP in education curricula; absence of IP to solve environmental issues; and ignorance on benefits of IP in cultural practices such as traditional medicines The high cost of IP processes in the region, low intra-African trade, poor economic performance in some states, multicultural demands on IP system, poor inventor base in Africa and the slow uptake of the ARIPO system by inventors constitute other hurdles. ARIPO’s initiatives are meant to tackle inefficiency and bring satisfaction highlighted by an in-house assessment for performance, speed and quality of service and information available. Industrial Property Rights Members of the Administrative Council of ARIPO meet during the meeting Under industrial property rights administration in 2017, the 19-member organisation plans to start issuing notification within three days from the date of receipt of application. The idea is to boost uptake of online services while raising customer satisfaction index by 60 percent. During an internal assessment, 62 percent of clients said they were getting the best service from ARIPO while 38 were not. The examination of trademarks by ARIPO secretariat will be done within 9 months, the applicable examination period, and will be further reduced to 8 months in 2018. ARIPO started aligning its system with the international standards in 2015 and will continue this year while pushing for the domestication of ARIPO’s protocols by member states. Centres of excellence for the examination of new varieties of plants will be established to complement the Arusha Protocol on the Protection of new varieties of plants which came into effect on 6 July 2015. According to ARIPO, its intellectual property rights information will be updated across the board this year. Improved Administration To push the environment for growth and improve IP registration regional databases will be established and trials in capturing data would start in phases. Member states will be assisted to digitize their paperwork in stages while technical training targeting 10 staff members from each office will be offered. Guiding principles on the voluntary copyright registration and notification will be developed. Building key relationships with intellectual property generators will involve five seminars on IP with universities and research institutes targeting 500 students and researchers. Awards for IP excellence will be instituted in two universities in 2017. The copyright awareness drive and the growth of creative industries will see regional training on licensing techniques and transparency, accountability and governance of copyright office staff. Model audio-visual contracts will be issued and using contracts for promoting commercialization of copyrighted works will be promoted. Introduction of IP modules in the curricula of law enforcement institutes which started last year will continue by introducing toolkits in two member states in law enforcement training institutes. IP Knowledge and Technologies ARIPO first introduced Masters in Intellectual Property degree at the Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe in 2008. The programme has graduated 218 people from 24 countries, the intention is to increase the uptake of the degree by 20 percent this year. Training modules for capacity building will be developed, innovator awareness drives will be conducted and IP curricular for educational institutions will be developed. A needs assessment on member states processing applications will be done and targeted IP training for law enforcers, ARIPO staff, universities, innovators, research institutions IP lawyers will be conducted. Added on the schedule is patent drafting training. The policy and legal support plan will see the Banjul Protocol reviewed and implemented. IP administration systems of member countries will be updated. Copyright database developed and cloud computing which started in 2016 will continue till 2018. The digital library for traditional knowledge will also be implemented. 40-Year Anniversary ARIPO’s new headquarters ARIPO, which was established by the Lusaka Agreement of 9 December 1976 and came into force on 15 February 1978, celebrated its 40 years of existence in December. New ARIPO headquarters were also inaugurated during the celebration. Over the years, ARIPO has helped member states to draft IP regulations, support mechanisms to build respect for IP, grow IPR registrations, train IP examiners and modernize ICT for IP, initiatives that it continues to strengthen. A number of protocols and accessions to ARIPO have grown over the years. The 10th amendment to the Harare Protocol on ‘Patents, Industrial Designs and Utility Models’ of 1984 took effect on 1 January, after changes were adopted by the 40th Session of the ARIPO Administrative Council in December, setting the tone for 2017. The Banjul Protocol on Marks, which came into force in 1997, is scheduled for further review in 2017. To continually align it with the needs and current trends in the global trademark source markets. With these amendments, ARIPO envisages a rise in the use of the ARIPO route by trademark owners. The Swakopmund Protocol on the protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expression Folklore became active in 2015 to continually align it with the needs and current trends in the global trademark source markets. With these amendments, ARIPO envisages a rise in the usage of the ARIPO route by trademark owners. According to Fernando dos Santos, director general of ARIPO, the implementation of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in the last 20 years has seen almost all African countries establishing institutions and legislation to protect intellectual property rights. “In spite of this development, Africa has however not fully exploited the IP system for the benefit of its people. Uptake of intellectual property is still very low on the continent,” he said, adding that of the 2.57 million patent applications that were filed worldwide in 2013, Africa contributed only 0.6 percent. “It is worth stating that Africa’s share of the worldwide patent filling has not changed since 2003,” said Santos. But it was not all gloom and doom he said. There were encouraging signs of innovation and development that will change perceptions and use of the intellectual property in the region. More so, a number of ARIPO member states were noted as innovation learners and innovation achievers by a report called the Global Innovation Index. Image Credits: ARIPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Munyaradzi Makoni may be reached at email@example.com."ARIPO Lines Up IP Enhancing Activities For 2017" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.