Smit & Van Wyk Patents, Trademarks & Copyright

ARIPO

ARIPO Patents, Trademarks & Designs

ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation) is an organisation that facilitates registration and administration of intellectual property rights for various African countries. Membership of the organization is open to all Member States of the African Union (AU) or of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). As of 31 December 2020, ARIPO was comprised of 20 Member States. The ARIPO registry is located in Harare, Zimbabwe.

ARIPO is mandated to grant patents on behalf of the Harare Protocol contracting states in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on patents, designs and utility models. ARIPO is mandated to register marks and the administration of such registered marks on behalf of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Banjul Protocol on Marks.

ARIPO Trademarks

The relevant protocol on trade marks for ARIPO is the Banjul Protocol. The protocol authorises ARIPO to register trade marks on behalf of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States. The Banjul Protocol establishes a trade mark application filing system along the lines of the Harare Protocol. An applicant may file a single application designating the specific contracting states either directly at ARIPO or through a contracting state.

States currently party to the Banjul Protocol are: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It is important to note however, that not all the countries have incorporated the provisions of the Banjul Protocol into their national laws, effectively questioning the enforceability of ARIPO trade mark registrations in certain contracting states.

Banjul Protocol

ARIPO Trademarks

ARIPO is mandated to register marks and the administration of such registered marks on behalf of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States. An applicant may file a single application either at one of the Banjul Protocol Contracting States or directly with the ARIPO Office. At this stage, it is recommended that clients pursue national trade mark applications in each African country of interest. 

ARIPO Members for Trademarks
Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

ARIPO Patents

The relevant protocol on patents and designs for ARIPO is the Harare Protocol. ARIPO is also a member of the Paris Convention and of the PCT. The Harare protocol authorises ARIPO to register patents and designs on behalf of the contracting states. ARIPO Applications specifically require the applicant to designate those member states where protection is required.  Currently the states which have acceded to the Harare Protocol and who may therefore be designated in an ARIPO patent or design application are: Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania (mainland), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Filing Requirements:

Non-PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • International Patent Classification (can be late filed)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) with verified English translation (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)

PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • International Patent Classification (required upon filing)
  • Published International application (required upon filing)
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability (can be late filed)

Novelty:

Absolute novelty required.

Patentability:  

Methods of medical diagnosis, treatment or surgery are not patentable.

Examination:

Substantive examination to be requested within 3 years of filing in ARIPO.

Duration/Renewals:

The patent has a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Annual renewal fees are payable from the first anniversary of the filing date. Renewal costs are based on the number of states designated.

Harare Protocol

ARIPO Patents

ARIPO is mandated to grant patents on behalf of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on Patents, Designs and Utility Models. The Harare Protocol was adopted on December 10, 1982 at Harare, Zimbabwe. The protocol entered into force in 1984.

ARIPO Members for Patents
Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania (mainland), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ARIPO Designs

Filing Requirements:

  • Power of Attorney (can be late filed)
  • Drawings or photographs of the design (required upon filing)
  • Certified copy of priority document (if applicable) (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Sworn translation of Priority Document if not in English (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)

Duration/Renewals:

The design has an initial term of 10 years from date of filing, with a possible extension of a further term of 5 years.

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