ARIPO

Country Data

Official Name: African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (formerly known as African Regional Industrial Property Organization)
Language of Work: English
Founding Treaty: The Lusaka Agreement on the Creation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)
Members: Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia (not member of the Harare Protocol), the Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. (Total 20 states)
ARIPO Protocols: The Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs; The Banjul Protocol on Marks; Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore; The Arusha Protocol for the protection of new varieties of plants
About ARIPO: African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (formerly known as African Regional Industrial Property Organization) is an intergovernmental organization that was established by the Lusaka Agreement in 1976. Originally ARIPO was formed to pool the resources of its member countries, English-Speaking African countries at the time, in the field of industrial/ intellectual property. However, later in December 1985, amendments were made to the Lusaka Agreement to open the membership to all African countries which are members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or of the African Union.   At the present, there are 20 states (listed above) that are members of ARIPO being parties to the Lusaka Agreement

ARIPO has adopted the following protocols with respect to patents, utility models, industrial designs, and trademarks:

  • The Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs (adopted on December 10, 1982): Empowering ARIPO to grant patents and to register utility models and industrial designs and to administer such patents, utility models and industrial designs on behalf of the contracting states
  • The Banjul Protocol on Marks (Adopted on November 19, 1993): Entrusting ARIPO with the registration of marks and the administration of such registered marks on behalf of the contracting states

It is to be noted that in contrast with the system under OAPI, the ARIPO member states also maintain their own respective national IP legislation and industrial property offices as well

Patent Cooperation Treaty: Through an amendment to the Harare Protocol, effective from July 1, 1994, ARIPO was linked to the PCT. Accordingly, in a PCT application ARIPO may be designated to cover all states that are party to both the Harare Protocol and the PCT.  At the present, all Harare Protocol contracting states except for Somalia are also parties to the PCT
  • Trademark
  • Patent
  • Industrial Design
  • Copyright
Basic Information
Banjul Protocol:

Currently operational in only 12 of the 20 Member States of ARIPO.

Creation of rights:

First-to-file jurisdiction (subject to occasional exceptions)

Basis for filing: Intent to use acceptable – prior use is not a prerequisite
Well-known marks:

No specific provisions are included in the Banjul Protocol or its implementing regulations

Types of marks:

Trademarks, Service Marks, Collective Marks

Note: If the national laws of a designated state do not provide for protection for service marks, an ARIPO application/ registration shall not be recognized/ effective in that designated state to the extent of the designated services

Priority:

Application may be filed with a priority claim within six months from the priority date

Madrid System: Not available 
Filing system:  

Available; however, in a single application goods and services

cannot be designated together). (However, a designated state may declare that a multiclass ARIPO application shall result into two or more single-class applications bearing reference to the same ARIPO application and the other related registration(s), if there is no provision for multiclass filing in the national laws of that designated state)

Classification: Nice Classification 11th edition
Who can be Applicant:  (1) Individuals; (2) Corporate entities    
Examination:

The ARIPO Office having initially conducting formal examination

and ensuring compliance of a trademark application with the formal requirements notifies the designated states that are required to examine the application in accordance with their respective national laws within a period of nine (9) months from the date of receipt of the notice from the ARIPO Office. A designated state may refuse to give effect to the registration of a mark by communicating to the ARIPO Office. However, if an application receives acceptance from the designated state or no communication is made to the ARIPO Office by the designated state during the nine-month period, the application shall be considered accepted with respect to that designated state and a notice in this respect shall be published in the ARIPO Journal

Publication: ARIPO Journal
Opposition period:

Three months from the date of publication in ARIPO Journal

Duration of registration:

10 years from the filing date – renewable for further periods of 10 years each upon request of the trademark owner within twelve months preceding the expiry date

Renewal grace period: 6 months

Registration timeframe (straightforward case):

16 to 20 months (approximately)           
Search
Official Search: Available – for word marks and device marks
Scope of search: Includes all similar or identical applied-for and registered marks
Turnaround time: 5 to 10 working days
Ways to obtain protection
  • Applications under the ARIPO system designating any or all contracting states (minimum one state must be designated)

Filing Requirements

New Applications
  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant, simply signed.
  2. Certified copy of the priority document, if priority is claimed. Verified English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Renewal of Registration
  1. Power of Attorney from the owner, simply signed.
  2. A simple copy of the last renewal certificate, if applicable.
Change of Name / Address Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney in the new name/ address of the owner, simply signed.
  2. A copy of certificate of change of name and address. Verified English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Assignment Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the Assignee, simply signed.
  2. Assignment document. Verified English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Merger Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the new owner, simply signed.
  2. Certificate of Merger document. Verified English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
License Recordation
  1. Power of Attorney from the licensor, simply signed.
  2. Power of Attorney from the licensee, simply signed.
  3. License Agreement. Verified English translation of the document would also be required if it is in any other language.
Ways to obtain patent protection:
  1. ARIPO, regional filing designating the contracting states (minimum one state must be designated)
  2. Regional filing designating the contracting states and claiming priority in terms of the Paris Convention
  3. PCT regional phase application designating ARIPO or ARIPO and any contracting states of the Harare Protocol which are also bound by the Patent Cooperation Treaty
Basic Information
Claims admissible for: 1) Process; and 2) Product
Novelty requirement: Absolute novelty is a prerequisite
Convention priority: Available (12 months)
PCT national phase entry deadline: 31 months
Search: Available by title, applicant’s name, priority number, or PCT number
Examination: The ARIPO Office having initially conducting formal examination and ensuring compliance with the formal requirements, accords a filing date and notify the applicant and the designated states of the fact of filing of a patent application and on the request of the applicant, undertakes or arranges for the substantive examination of the application. The designated states examine the application in accordance with their respective national laws within six (6) months from the date of receipt of the notice from the ARIPO Office. If an application receives acceptance from the designated state or no communication is made to the ARIPO Office by the designated state during the six-month period starting from the date of notification by the ARIPO Office to the designated state, the application is considered accepted with respect to that designated state and the ARIPO Office publishes the patent in the ARIPO Journal
Publication: Publication takes place in the ARIPO Journal
Opposition period: There is no provision in the Harare Protocol for filing of opposition
Protection term (patent): 20 years from the filing date and in case of the PCT national phase applications, from the international filing date
Protection term (utility model): 10 years from filing date
Annuity payment: Becomes due annually on the anniversary of the ARIPO filing date and payable prior to grant. For patents filed under the PCT, annuity payment becomes due on the anniversary of the international filing date and payable prior to grant
Working/ Compulsory License: If the patent is not fully exploited by the patentee within four years from filing date or 3 years from the date of grant, the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing in accordance with the provisions of the Patent Law
Grace period for late annuity payment: 6 months with a late payment fee
Working/ Compulsory License: On compulsory licenses, forfeiture or the use of the
patented inventions in the public interest, the ARIPO patents shall be subject to the provisions of the respective national laws of the designated contracting states
Patent grant timeframe (straightforward case): 2 to 3 years (approximately)
Filing Requirements
For non-PCT Applications
  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant; simply signed.
  2. Patent specification, claims, drawings, and abstract in English.
  3. International Patent Classification.
  4. Assignment of Invention and priority rights, executed by the inventor(s) if the applicant is not the inventor.
  5. Certified copy of the priority document, if priority is claimed. (for non-PCT applications only)

For PCT regional phase application, the following items would also be required:

  1. A copy of International Publication with patent specification, claims, drawings, and abstract.
  2. A copy of International Search Report.
  3. A copy of International Preliminary Examination Report.

Note: Verified English translation of a document that is in any other language shall also be required.

Ways to obtain protection for design:
  • ARIPO, Regional filing designating the contracting states (minimum one state must be designated)
  • ARIPO, Regional filing designating the contracting states and claiming priority in terms of the Paris Convention
Basic Information
Types of designs: (1) Drawings; and (2) Models
Novelty: Novelty is a prerequisite for the designs to be afforded registration
Convention priority: 6-month priority may be claimed
Locarno Classification: No provisions
Examination: The ARIPO Office having initially conducting formal examination and ensuring compliance of the application with the formal requirements notifies the designated states that are required to examine the application in accordance with their respective national laws within a period of six (6) months from the date of receipt of the notice from the ARIPO Office. A designated state may refuse to give effect to the registration of a design by communicating to the ARIPO Office. However, if an application receives acceptance from the designated state or no communication is made to the ARIPO Office by the designated state during the six-month period, the application shall be considered accepted with respect to that designated state and a notice in this respect shall be published in the ARIPO Journal
Publication: Publication takes place in the ARIPO Journal
Opposition: There are no provisions for opposition in the Harare Protocol
Protection term: The protection term for ARIPO designs as provided in the Harare Protocol is ten (10) years from the filing date. However, if the national law of a designated state provides a different protection term, uncertainty may arise in the absence of any express provisions therein as to which term would be considered effective in such case
Annuity: Annuities shall be payable to the ARIPO Office every year on the anniversary of the filing date of the design application
Registration timeframe
(straightforward case):
10 to 14 months (approximately)
Filing Requirements
  1. Power of Attorney from the Applicant; simply signed.
  2. Drawings, photographs or other graphic representations of the article embodying the industrial design.
  3. Assignment deed, if the applicant is not the creator.
  4. A certified copy of the priority document.

Note: English translation shall be required of any document that is in any other language.

The Lusaka Agreement and the ARIPO Protocols do not have any provisions dealing with copyrights. Hence, the protection of copyright may be determined only in accordance with the national laws of the member states.

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