Patent Law of ARIPO
* ARIPO is mandated to grant patents on behalf of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on Patents, Designs and Utility Models. The Harare Protocol was adopted on December 10, 1982 at Harare, Zimbabwe. The protocol entered into force in 1984.
* Under the protocol, an applicant for the grant of a patent for an invention can, by filing only one application, designate any one of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in which that applicant wishes the invention to be accorded protection. The protocol requires the filing of the application to be made with any one of the Contracting States or directly with the ARIPO Office.}
* There are 18 Contracting States, namely Botswana, Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Patent Registration procedure in ARIPO
The application is filed to the Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in Zimbabwe where it is examined.
Amendment of application at instance of Applicant
The applicant may, of his or her own initiative at any time before the grant of a patent, amend or correct his or her application. The applicant shall not, in amending his or her application under this section, include any material matter which was not disclosed in the initial application as filed.
Application is examined by ARIPO office to ensure that it complies with the requirements.
Patent application is published in the Journal.
The application is sent to ARIPO to ensure that the application satisfies the patentability requirements. Results are sent back to the regional office in writing.
If the examination process reaches a positive conclusion a patent is granted & the certificate of grant is issued. This is subject to the payment of the prescribed grant fee.
The applicant is required to pay an annual fee for each anniversary of filling. The annual fees are prescribed in the Industrial property regulations. The anniversary fee must be paid despite the delay experienced during the examination process. Will apply a surcharge for late payment of annual fee.
Time period for registration is dependent upon ARIPO. In our experience, it may take from 2 to 3 years to register.
Patent Documents required for ARIPO
* A signed power of attorney (POA)
* A statement, where the applicant is the inventor;
* A statement justifying the applicant’s right to the patent, where the applicant is not the inventor;
* A request, containing a petition that a patent be granted, the name of and other prescribed information concerning the applicant, the inventor , if any, and the title of the invention;
* If the applicant is not the inventor, the request shall be accompanied by a statement justifying the applicant’s right to the patent (Assignment);
* A description disclosing the invention in a manner which is sufficiently clear and complete to enable a person having ordinary skill in the art to carry out the invention, and shall indicate at least one mode known to the applicant in which the invention can be performed;
* One or more claims defining the matter for which protection is sought, the claim shall be clear and concise and shall be fully
supported by the description, and the description and any drawings filed may be used to interpret the claim;
* Drawings; and
* An abstract in the prescribed form, the abstract shall not be taken into account for the purpose of interpreting the scope of the protection but shall merely serve as technical information.
Trademark Law in ARIPO
The history of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) goes back to some English speaking African countries wanting to pool their resources in intellectual property matters by establishing a regional organization.
The Lusaka Agreement of December 1976 merely created ARIPO. Additional legal instruments had to give the organization specific functions to perform on behalf of member states.
Additional legal instruments are:
(1) The Protocol on Patent and Industrial Designs within the Framework of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (the Harare Protocol);
(2) The Banjul Protocol on Marks of 1993;
(3) Amendments to the Banjul Protocol on Marks, which entered into effect on 1 January 2020.
Simultaneous trademark protection by a common registration in all ARIPO member states will be possible only when all states have signed the Banjul Protocol (at the moment only Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe). However, only Botswana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe have incorporated the provisions of the Banjul Protocol in their national laws. Accordingly, there are doubts regarding the validity of ARIPO registrations in Lesotho, Eswatini, Tanzania and Uganda. There are also national trademark laws in force in the ARIPO member states.
* Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nice classification, 11th edition. Multiple-class applications are possible.
Simple signed Power of Attorney (POA)
Trademark Registration Procedure in ARIPO
The application must be filed either directly at the ARIPO Office in Harare, Zimbabwe or via the Industrial Property Office of a contracting state. The filing date shall be the date of receipt of the application in the respective office.
The application is only examined formally; no search for collisions with prior trademarks is conducted.
The ARIPO office notifies each designated state and further requests each of them to examine the application in accordance with its national laws and notify the ARIPO office of its findings within a prescribed period. On expiration of the prescribed period the ARIPO office publishes the mark for registration in all those countries where it is considered registrable.
(3) Three months after publication, the mark will be registered if there has not been any opposition during this time.
National Opposition Period
The opposition period is 3 months from publication of the trademark application.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 1 year.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. It is renewable for periods of 10 years.
Important remarks opposition in ARIPO
The 2020 Amendments to the Protocol brought about significant changes and clarification in respect of ARIPO oppositions. The procedure is a follows:
1) a notice of opposition must be prepared in accordance with the national laws of the designated states concerned;
2) the notice of opposition must be filed with the ARIPO Office and copied to the offices of the designated states within 3 months of advertisement in the ARIPO Journal;
3) the ARIPO Office will transmit the notice of opposition to the relevant designated states;
4) the opposition is decided in terms of the national laws of each state and the decision notified to the ARIPO Office;
5) the decision will be subject to appeal or review in accordance with the national laws of the relevant states; and
6) the ARIPO Office will record the decision and publish it in the ARIPO Journal.
* It is however not clear whether extensions of time for filing the notice of opposition will be allowed. It is therefore necessary that notices of opposition are prepared ahead of the deadline for filing.