Harare, Zimbabwe – The Forty-Fourth Session of the Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) will be held from November 16-20, 2020. The Session will be officially opened by the Zimbabwe Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi.
The meeting will be in a hybrid format with the delegates participating virtually in line with the COVID-19 pandemic protocols. However, the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Organization (ZIPO) and Ambassadors from the ARIPO Member States accredited to Zimbabwe will participate at the ARIPO Secretariat.
The Session of the Administrative Council’s objective is inter-alia to direct the execution of policy concerning the activities of the Organization and approve the programme of activities, annual report, budget, and financial statements of the Organization. The ARIPO Director General, Dr. Fernando dos Santos, will report on the main achievements of ARIPO in 2020 and the statistics on industrial property rights applications received and granted by the Organization. A review of the ARIPO Value and Growth Transformation Strategic Plan 2016-2020 will be discussed. The tenure of the current Director General ends on December 31. The Session will elect the New Director General from the top three final candidates. The new DG is expected to commence duty on January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2024.
The Opening Ceremony will be on November 16, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. The opening session format will be as follows: Remarks by the Director-General of ARIPO, Dr. Fernando dos Santos; Statements by Cooperating Partners; Remarks by the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Honourable Adelyn Cooper, Director General, Liberia IP Office; and Address by the Guest of Honour.
ARIPO is an intergovernmental organization. It was created in Lusaka, Zambia, on 9th December 1976 under the Lusaka Agreement.
ARIPO protects Africa’s intellectual property rights through patents, trademarks, copyrights, utility models, industrial designs, plant varieties, traditional knowledge, and folklore expression and geographical indications. ARIPO also contributes to the shaping of the African and global intellectual property landscape.
ARIPO has four principles: the Council of Ministers, the Administrative Council, the Board of Appeal, and the Secretariat. The Council of Ministers consists of those Government Ministers of the Organization’s member states responsible for the administration of intellectual property in their countries and meets every two years. The Administrative Council is subordinate to the Council of Ministers. It consists of technocrats, namely the Heads of those offices from member states of the Organization which administer intellectual property. The Administrative Council has subsidiary Committees in place to administer the affairs of ARIPO. These are; Finance, Audit, Staff Affairs, and Technical Committees.
The Administrative Council constitutes heads of offices entrusted with dealing with intellectual property matters. It meets at least once a year in ordinary session. The Council holds an Annual Meeting to discuss the Organization’s administrative aspects, including the proposed budget and programme of activities for the following year. It also looks at any recommendations from the subsidiary committees and amends the ARIPO treaties to keep them in line with international trends.
ARIPO has 20 Member States. They are Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Inter-governmental Organizations and Co-operating Partners to be represented at the Council meeting are the Artistas Intérpretes, Sociedad de Gestión (AISGE), the European Patent Office (EPO), the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI)
Patent Agents represented will be Adams and Adams of Mozambique; Lysaght & Company of the British Isles; Ngeri, Omiti & Bush Advocates of Kenya; Roland Intellectual Property Consultants of Namibia; Spoor & Fisher of South Africa; and from Zimbabwe: B Matanga Intellectual Property Attorneys; Donsa, Nkomo & Mutangi Legal Practitioners; Honey & Blanckenberg; Mawere & Sibanda Legal Practitioners; Muvingi & Mugadza Legal Practitioners; and Samuriwo Attorneys.