Published Date: July 4, 2023

the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), In collaboration with Mauritius’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Industrial Property Office of Mauritius (IPOM) and Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa (AfrIPI), hosted a workshop from 31st May to 2nd June 2023 to promote the accession to more ARIPO IP Protocols by ARIPO Member States. The three-day event took place at Balaclava, Mauritius. The event brought together representatives of National IP Offices from 19 African countries.

There are five ARIPO Protocols that govern different aspects of intellectual property protection in its Member States, each providing a regional system for such protection. The Protocols are undergirded by the Lusaka Agreement of 1976. The workshop aimed to encourage participating countries that have not yet joined all of these Protocols to do so. The Protocols include:

  • The Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs
  • The Banjul Protocol on Marks
  • The Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore
  • The Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
  • The Kampala Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights

At the event, ARIPO Director General Bermanya Twebaze expressed his concerns about the undocumented losses for ARIPO Member States that may be associated with a delayed uptake by them of the strategies enshrined in the Protocols. He highlighted that “joining the Protocols means that users from all over the world will be enjoying the protection in the Member States through the ARIPO system. Once a Member State is bound by the Protocols, the ARIPO system will start receiving applications designating that Member State.”

He added that “As these designations keep growing, the long-term socio-economic benefits will start to be realised, therefore, accession further contributes to the increase of the Member States’ market value for trade and investment purposes.”

Representing AfrIPI, His Excellency Vincert Degert, the European Union Ambassador for Mauritius and Seychelles, gave remarks in which he detailed the EU’s commitment to supporting the development of intellectual property in Africa. ;