ZIMBABWE - The 5th African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) – African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Joint Commission, which was preceded by an Experts Meeting that ran from July 23 -24, 2019 concluded with the signing of a revised Work Plan on Friday, 26 July, 2019. The revised Work Plan shall run until the next session in 2020, according to the official website of ARIPO.
The revised Work Plan restates the importance of reciprocal participation by the two organizations at either party’s ordinary sessions of the Administrative Council. This is expected to help elicit greater support of the policy makers of both Organizations on ongoing efforts to deepen cooperation between them.
At global fora, the two agreed to continue encouraging delegations from their respective member States to lobby for common positions in the Africa Group on technical and strategic IP matters.
Since the ultimate goal for these joint commissions is to see the harmonization of ARIPO and OAPI systems to the extent possible, the 5th Session agreed to undertake a study on the matter. Study visits of OAPI and ARIPO experts to each other’s offices will be done to facilitate the eventual harmonization of the two systems. The studies shall be centered on the legal aspects, grant and registration procedures, ICT tools, and general acquaintance with each other’s best practices.
To create better understanding of each other’s activities, the parties agreed to participate in important IP events organized by either of them. Such events are the ARIPO annual copyright symposium and IP conference and OAPI’s African Invention and Technological Innovation Fair (SAIIT).
Apart from strengthening the existing exchange of publications to keep each other abreast of the systems and procedures of either party, the Joint Commission agreed to have research articles from OAPI published in the African Journal of Intellectual Property (AJIP) and the ARIPO Magazine.
Capacity building initiatives being undertaken separately by the two organizations on the continent are very critical. They are all aimed at creating a strong IP human resource base for Africa. However, the two Organizations agreed to provide a coordinated approach to training and capacity building by developing common IP programs.
Finally, to give impetus to the agreed Work Plan, two focal persons from each Organization where tasked to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Work Plan. The next session of the Joint Commission will meet next year 2020. The two Directors General, Mr. Denis L. Bohoussou of OAPI and Mr. Fernando dos Santos of ARIPO signed the Work Plan on behalf of their respective Organizations.