By Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper
This tribute of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and Member States is paid to Dr. Fernando dos Santos, Director General of ARIPO from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Organization, in particular, his astute leadership, devotion to duty, the doubling of the Organization’s fortunes, contribution in advancing Intellectual Property (IP) in Africa, and playing a key role in elevating the image of ARIPO in the global IP arena.
During his tenure as the Director General, Dr. dos Santos instituted numerous changes at the Secretariat including the adoption of the new ARIPO logo, the implementation of the ‘Value & Growth Transformation Strategic Plan 2016-2020’, introduction of “The Most Outstanding Employee of the Month/Year Award”, the adoption of 16 internal policies, regulations, manuals, and plans as well as the inauguration of the state-of-the-art new ARIPO headquarters building.
He is credited with bringing on board São Toméand Príncipe and Mauritius to the ARIPO family, marshalling the Member States to adopt the Swakopmund and Arusha Protocols and ushering 11 new accessions to existing ARIPO protocols.
Moreover, he is credited with spearheading the adoption of The Harare Strategic Plan for the Development of Copyright and Related RighLibeirats in Africa, the adoption of The Nairobi Strategic Plan for the Development of Copyright and Related Rights in Africa in addition to the Development of the Legal Framework on the establishment of a Regional Voluntary Copyright Registration and Notification System.
Other notable achievements attributed to Dr. dos Santos include the establishment of 5 new Sub-Committees of the ARIPO Administrative Council, formation of the Working Group on the Improvement of the ARIPO Industrial Property Protocols; rolling out the ARIPO National Roving Seminars 2014-2017 and Roving Seminars for Universities and the Research Institutions 2017-2020; launch of the African Journal of Intellectual Property; launch of the Master of Philosophy Degree in IP at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana; launch of the Master of Intellectual Property Degree at University of Dar es Salam, Tanzania, launch of the ARIPO Regional Patent Examination Training program (ARPET) at ARIPO and the graduation of 358 individuals from 26 countries with the ARIPO sponsored Masters in Intellectual Property Degree programs at the Africa University, in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Dr. dos Santos is also credited with the conclusion of the Project to Upgrade and Modernize the ARIPO ICT Infrastructure and the Launch of Polite+ Administration System, the uptake of online applications by 84%, conclusion of the digitalization of ARIPO backfiles, launch of the ARIPO Regional Database, the inclusion of the ARIPO’s published trademark and design data on the EUIPO TMview and DesignView respectively, the inclusion of ARIPO in the EUIPO TMClass and the revamping the ARIPO website.
He facilitated the execution of 25 new MoUs with partners including the signing of the WIPO/ARIPO/OAPI (WAO) Tripartite Agreement and rolling out of the WAO National IP Awareness Weeks, signing of the Reinforced Partnership Agreement with EPO and the launch of the European Union Intellectual Property Rights Action for Africa project (AfrIPI).
Dr. Dos Santos has been voted thrice as one of the top 50 “Most Influential People” in IP by the United Kingdom-based ‘Managing Intellectual Property’ in 2015, 2018, and 2019. At his watch, ARIPO received the award of the best commercial property in Zimbabwe at the ‘Zimbabwe Project Management Awards 2017’, a Special Award from the Project Management Zimbabwe 8th Annual Project Managers Dinner, and the National Business Excellence Award 2018’ at the annual Megafest.
May God richly bless you.
On behalf of ARIPO and its Member States!
Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper, is the Executive Director of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office and Chairperson of the Administrative Council of ARIPO.