ARIPO Regional IP Database Launched

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is an inter-governmental organization which provides a regional industrial property system for English-speaking African countries.

Last month, on 10 September 2018, ARIPO launched the ARIPO Regional IP Database and the ARIPO Search System – a development supported by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).  The database currently contains publication data of patents, trademarks and designs filed in ARIPO and various member states, including Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

At the launch, Mr Fernando dos Santos (current ARIPO Director General) stated that the ARIPO Office is exploiting ICT tools to establish a stronger presence of ARIPO in the global IP market.  However, Mr Gregory Sadyalunda (current Representative of WIPO’s Director General) cautioned that the database is still in the implementation phase and various challenges in the infrastructure and maintenance of the database lie ahead.

The launch of the ARIPO Regional IP Database is in line with the objectives stated in the preamble of the Lusaka Agreement, which specifically provides that member states are “aware of the advantage to be derived by them from the effective and continuous exchange of information and harmonization and co-ordination of their laws and activities in industrial property matters”.  This development puts ARIPO member states in a position to derive benefit from exchanging IP information with each other and the rest of the world.

The ARIPO Regional IP database is easily accessible at no charge to the public via the following link: http://regionalip.aripo.org.  However, after testing the search system, we noticed that the data of the database appears incomplete.  This is important to bear in mind when considering the accuracy of any search results.

We have no doubt that the launch of the ARIPO Regional IP Database and the ARIPO Search System will contribute to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property in Africa.

There are currently 18 states which are party to the Lusaka Agreement and thus, members of ARIPO: Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  You are welcome to contact Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. if you are interested in filing patent, trademark or design applications in ARIPO member states.

What is ARIPO?

ARIPO is a union of 18 African countries with the capacity to administer applications for patents and trade marks in its member states who are parties to the Harare (patents), Banjul (marks) and Arusha (plant varieties) protocols. An ARIPO application may cover selected member countries. These countries include:

Patents & Industrial Designs
Botswana · Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) · Gambia · Ghana · Kenya · Lesotho · Liberia · Malawi · Mozambique · Namibia · Rwanda · Sào Tomé and Príncipe · Sierra Leone · Sudan · Tanzania · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe

Trade Marks
Botswana · Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)· Lesotho · Liberia · Malawi · Namibia · Sierra Leone · Sudan · Tanzania · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe