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In the background of the HARAKENZO trademark is a global map wherein countries/regions are sized according to the number of patents registered there in 1991.

Privacy policy


Information on Developing Countries
(BRICs, VISTA, et cetera)
Patent engineering staff specialized in patent affairs : Yoshihisa SUMI

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HIROSHIMA TEL
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NAGOYA TEL
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The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization



1. About ARIPO

The ARIPO is an abbreviation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization. The ARIPO is an international organization for intellectual properties, and mainly composed of English-speaking African countries.

In December 1976, an Agreement on the Creation of an Industrial Property Organization for English-speaking Africa was adopted with the aim of promoting harmonization and development of the industrial property laws, and matters related thereto, appropriate to the needs of its members and of the region as a whole. Then, in September 1981, the head office of the Organization was found in Harare in Zimbabwe, and in December 1985, the Organization is renamed “ARIPO.”

Practical operations relating to patents, utility models, and designs are carried out based on the Harare Protocol which was prepared in Harare in Zimbabwe in 1982, and operations relating to trademarks are carried out based on the Banjul Protocol which was prepared in Banjul in Gambia in 1993.

Official member states include Botswana, Gambia*, Ghana*, Kenya*, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique*, Namibia, Sierra Leone*, Somalia*, Sudan*, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia*, and Zimbabwe (countries having the mark “*” do not conclude the Banjul Protocol).

States with observer status include Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tunisia.

It is possible to file an application with several African countries simultaneously by filing a single application with the ARIPO.







2. Summary of Intellectual Property Right Systems in ARIPO

The ARIPO covers intellectual property rights ranging from patents, utility models, designs, trademarks, traditional knowledge, and copyrights.

The table below shows a summary of major laws (patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks).



  Patent Utility Model Design Trademark
Local Representative Necessary Necessary Necessary Necessary
Filing Language English
Substantive Examination System Yes Yes No
(Depends on each country)
Yes
Duration 20 years from application date Depends on each country 10 years from application date 10 years from application date
(Renewal allowed every 10 years)
Grace Period Yes Yes Yes No
Opposition No No No
(Depends on each country)
3 months from publication
Trial for Invalidation No
(Depends on each country)
No
(Depends on each country)
No
(Depends on each country)
No
(Depends on each country)






3. Patent system
  • 3-1. Contracting States of Patent System
    Contracting states include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 3-2. Filing Documents and Filing Language
    ∙ Application documents include (i) Application form, (ii) Specification, (iii) Claims, (iv) Abstract, and (v) Drawing(s) as necessary.

    ∙ Other documents required to be filed are (vi) Power of Attorney (certification is not required, and to be filed within 2 months from the filing date), (vii) Priority Certificate (to be filed within 3 months from the filing date), and (viii) English translation of Priority Certificate (to be filed within 6 months from the filing date). If an applicant is not an inventor, (ix) a Statement of assignment is also required to be filed. If an applicant for an ARIPO application is not an applicant in the first country, (x) Priority Statement is also required to be filed.

    ∙ The filing documents should be prepared in English.

    ∙ The Application form should include an applicant’s name and address, an inventor’s name and address, and a country to be designated to seek protection, and if a priority right is claimed, information thereof etc.

  • 3-3. Application Process
    ∙ An application can be filed directly or via a PCT application.

     (i) Filing directly
      An applicant files an ARIPO application with the ARIPO Office or an Industrial Property Office of any contracting state.

     (ii) Filing via PCT application
      (1) After filing a PCT application, an applicant proceeds the application to the ARIPO Office within 31 months from the priority date.
      (2) The applicant is required to submit English translations of Specification, Claims, Abstract, and Drawing(s) for PCT application.
      (3) The applicant is required to pay a designation fee within 31 months from the priority date.

    ∙ The applicant can change its patent application for a utility model application only one time any time before the grant or refusal of the patent.

  • 3-4. Process from Application to Registration
     (i) If an application is filed with an Industrial Property Office of a contracting state, the Industrial Property Office of the contracting state checks whether filing documents meet the requirements for granting an application date. Then, the Industrial Property Office of the contracting state sends (i) an application certificate to a representative of an applicant, and (ii) the filing documents to the ARIPO Office.

     (ii) At first, the ARIPO Office examines whether the application meets the formality requirements. If the application does not meet the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the applicant, and orders the applicant to correct the application within 2 months. If the application meets the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the Industrial Property Offices of designated states.

     (iii) The application is published after 18 months after the application date.

     (iv) If the application meets the formality requirements, a substantive examination is carried out. There is no system for requesting an examination. The ARIPO Office itself examines whether or not the patent application meets the patent requirements (novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability, clarity, requirement of support in description, etc.). Alternatively, the ARIPO Office arranges that such an examination should be carried out by other country or region such as EPO. In some cases, the ARIPO Office requests the applicant to submit an information of an examination result of a corresponding foreign application.
      (1) If the application is judged not to meet the patent requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the applicant with a designated period. On receiving the above notification, the applicant can submit observations (a written argument) and/or an amendment.
    If the amendment etc. submitted by the applicant is judged not to meet the patent requirements as before, the application will be rejected.
    If the applicant disagrees to the rejection, the applicant can request a reconsideration within 2 months from the date of a notification of the rejection.
      (2) If the application is judged not to overcome the rejection as before as a result of the reconsideration, the applicant can file an appeal within 3 months from the date of this judgment.
      (3) If the request for reconsideration is rejected, the applicant can request that the application be treated as an application under the national law of one or more of the designated states with specifying the designated states in which the procedure for the grant or registration of a national patent is desired.
      (4) If the ARIPO Office decides to grant a patent, the ARIPO Office notifies the applicant and the industrial property offices of the designated states. In response to the decision to grant a patent, the applicant is required to pay the grant and publication fee within 6 months. If the patent does not meet requirements of a national law in a designated state, the designated state notifies the ARIPO Office that the patent right does not have an effect in the designated state.
      (5) If the applicant pays the grant and publication fee, the ARIPO Office grants a patent after a six-month-period is expired from the notification of decision to grant a patent. The patent right has an effect in designated states (excluding the designated state which notifies the ARIPO Office that the patent does not have an effect in the designated state as mentioned in the above (4)).

  • 3-5. Relation to Corresponding Foreign Applications
    ∙ In order to easily judge novelty and inventive step, if requested by the ARIPO Office, the applicant has a responsibility to submit information regarding corresponding applications in other countries. Upon receiving a request from the ARIPO Office, applicants who have made a patent application for the same invention or a substantially similar invention in an industrial property rights office of another country or region must submit the application number and date of said application to the ARIPO Office within a designated period.

    ∙ Applicants who receive a request from the ARIPO Office must submit the search results and/or examination results in connection with corresponding applications to the ARIPO Office within a designated period.

    ∙ It is advantageous in examinations to indicated that an application’s claims are identical to corresponding claims that were deemed to overcome prior art indicated by the USPTO, EPO or a PCT international searching authority, or that the application’s claims have been made identical to the corresponding claims mentioned above due to amendment.

    ∙ When entering a PCT application into the national phase in each country, it is recommended to submit copies of the International Search Report and International Preliminary Examination. In all applications, the applicant must choose to either pay the examination fee or submit the examination results of a related application filed in another country. In the case of a PCT application, a copy of the International Preliminary Examination can be used instead of the search results of another country.

    ∙ It takes around 33-40 months from application to registration of a patent. It takes around 12 months from requesting examination to registration. It then takes around 6 months from registration to a notice being issued.

    (Source: International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI Japan), "Research report on state of implementation of IP systems in African states and IP activities in major extraterritorial nations").


  • ∙ The Examiner tends to take into account the examination result in the PCT international phase and the examination result(s) of a corresponding foreign application(s). It is therefore preferable to put the corresponding foreign application(s) into condition for allowance as early as possible.
  • 3-6. Organism Deposit
    ∙ For patent applications regarding microorganisms, stipulations are provided under Rule 6bis of the Regulation.

    ∙ For specifications of patent applications in which the use of a microorganism is necessary to work the invention, if (a) which is not available to the public at the date of filing the application, and (b)which cannot be described in the application in such a manner as to enable the invention to be performed by a person skilled in the art shall be regarded as disclosing the invention only if:

     (i) A culture of microorganisms has been deposited with an international depositary institution by the date of filing;
     (ii) The name of said international e depositary institution, when the culture was deposited and file number of the deposit are given in the application.

    ∙ If the information specified in (ii) above is not included in the application documents filed, said information must be submitted to the ARIPO office during one of the following periods (whichever is sooner):

     (a) Within 16 months after the date of application or after the priority date in cases where a priority is claimed;
     (b) If the ARIPO office receives a request for information and inspection of the application under Rule 3, within one month of the office notifying the applicant of said request.

    ∙ If the information specified in (ii) above is written in the PCT application documents (the specification etc.), it is not necessary for the original or a copy of the certificate of receipt to be submitted when transferring to ARIPO.

  • 3-7 Statistics
    ∙ 697 patent applications were filed in 2016 (657 via the PCT application and 40 directly). Of these, 680 were filed by foreign applicants. The country with the largest proportion of applications was the United States, with 204 cases, while Japanese applicants filed 21 cases.

    ∙ 468 patents were granted in 2016, of which 462 were via the PCT applications.

    ∙ As of 2016, the number of valid patents is 3421.

    ∙ The top three fields for patent applications in 2016 (based on the IPC) were: Class C (Chemistry; Metallurgy) with 38% of cases; Class A (Human necessities) with 16% of cases; and Class B (Performing operations; Transporting) with 11% of cases.












4. Utility Model System
  • 4-1. Contracting States of Utility Model System
    Contracting states include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 4-2. Filing Documents and Filing Language
    ∙ Application documents include (i) Application form, (ii) Specification, (iii) Claims, (iv) Abstract, and (v) Drawing(s) or model(s).

    ∙ Other documents required to be submitted are (vi) Power of Attorney (certification is not required, this document is required to be submitted within 2 months from the filing date), (vii) Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 3 months from the filing date), and (viii) English translation of Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 6 months from the filing date). If an applicant is different from an inventor, (ix) Statement of assignment is also required to be submitted. If an applicant for an ARIPO application is different from an applicant in the first country, (x) Priority Statement is also required to be submitted.

    ∙ The filing documents should be prepared in English.

    ∙ The Application form should include an applicant’s name and address, an inventor’s name and address, and a country to be designated to seek protection, and if a priority right is claimed, information thereof etc.

  • 4-3. Application Process
    ∙ As with the case of patent, a utility model application can be filed directly or via a PCT application.

    ∙ An applicant can change its utility model application for a patent application any time before the grant or refusal of the utility model.

  • 4-4. Process from Application to Registration
     (i) At first, the ARIPO Office examines whether the application meets the formality requirements as with the case of patent.

     (ii) If the application meets the formality requirements, a substantive examination is carried out. There is no system for requesting an examination. The ARIPO Office itself examines whether or not the utility model application meets the utility model requirements (novelty, industrial applicability, clarity, requirement of support in description, etc.). Alternatively, the ARIPO Office arranges that such an examination should be carried out by other country or region such as EPO. In some cases, the ARIPO Office requests the applicant to submit an information of an examination result of a corresponding foreign application. The process for the utility model system is fundamentally identical to that of patent system. The utility model right has an effect in designated states (excluding a designated state which notifies the ARIPO Office that the utility model does not have an effect in the designated state as mentioned in the above 3-4. (4)).

  • 4-5. Statistics
     ∙ 29 Utility Model applications were filed in 2016 (22 from Zimbabwe, 3 from Kenya, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Swaziland, 1 from Russia, and 1 from the United Kingdom). No utility models were filed from Japan.
     ∙ 2 Utility Models were registered in 2016.








5. Design System
  • 5-1. Contracting States of Design System
    Contracting states include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 5-2. Filing Documents and Filing Language
    ∙ Application documents include (i) Application form, and (ii) Drawing(s).
    ∙ Other documents required to be submitted are (iii) Power of Attorney (certification is not required, this document is required to be submitted within 2 months from the filing date), (iv) Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 3 months from the filing date), and (v) English translation of Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 6 months from the filing date). If an applicant is different from a creator, (vi) Statement of assignment is also required to be submitted.
    ∙ The filing documents should be prepared in English.
    ∙ A design with a three-dimensional shape can also seek protection.
    ∙ The Application form should include an applicant’s name and address, a creator’s name and address, a product name with a design to be filed, and states to be designated to seek protection, and if a priority right is claimed, information thereof etc.

  • 5-3. Application Process
    An applicant files a design application with the ARIPO Office or an Industrial Property Office of any contracting state.

  • 5-4. Process from Application to Registration
     (i) If an application is filed with an Industrial Property Office of a contracting state, the Industrial Property Office of the contracting state checks whether filing documents meet the requirements for granting an application date. Then, the Industrial Property Office of the contracting state sends (i) an application certificate to a representative of an applicant, and (ii) the filing documents to the ARIPO Office.
     (ii) The ARIPO Office examines whether the application meets the formality requirements. If the application does not meet the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the applicant, and orders the applicant to correct the application within 2 months. If the application meets the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the Industrial Property Offices of designated states.
     (iii) If the application is judged to meet the formality requirements, the applicant is required to pay a registration and publication fee within 6 months. If the application does not meet requirements of a national law in a designated state for the reason, for example, that the design application does not have novelty, the designated state notifies the ARIPO Office that the design right does not have an effect in the designated state.
     (iv) If the applicant pays the registration and publication fee, the ARIPO Office grants a design right after a six-month-period is expired from the notification of decision to grant a design right. The design right has an effect in designated states (excluding the designated state which notifies the ARIPO Office that the design right does not have an effect in the designated state as mentioned in the above (iii)).







6. Trademark System
  • 6-1. Contracting States of Trademark System
    Contracting states include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

  • 6-2. Filing Documents and Filing Language
    ∙ Application documents include (i) Application form, and (ii) Specimen of Trademark.
    ∙ Other documents required to be submitted are (iii) Power of Attorney (certification is not required, this document is required to be submitted within 2 months from the filing date), (iv) Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 3 months from the filing date), and (v) English translation of Priority Certificate (this document is required to be submitted within 6 months from the filing date). In principle, actual use of a trademark or an intention to use the trademark is necessary, and thus, in filing the application, a document etc. to indicate the use or intention are required to be submitted.
    ∙ The filing documents should be prepared in English.
    ∙ The Application form should include an applicant’s name and address, and goods or services to be protected, and a class or classes in the international classification thereof, and if a priority right is claimed, information thereof etc.
    ∙ A single trademark application can designate multiple goods or services.
    ∙ The Nice Classification is adopted.
    ∙ A trademark which is three-dimensional can also seek protection.

  • 6-3. Application Process
    An applicant files an application with the ARIPO Office or an Industrial Property Office of any contracting state.

  • 6-4. Process from Application to Registration
    (i) The ARIPO Office examines whether the application meets the formality requirements. If the application does not meet the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the applicant, and orders the applicant to correct the application within 2 months. If the application meets the formality requirements, the ARIPO Office notifies the Industrial Property Offices of designated states.
    (ii) On receiving the above notification, the Industrial Property Offices of the designated states can examine the application on the basis of their national laws within 12 months from the notification. If an Industrial Property Office of a designated state rejects the application, the Industrial Property Office notifies the ARIPO Office. The applicant is given an opportunity to respond to the rejection directly to the designated state, and the application will be reconsidered.
    (iii) An application accepted by any designated state will be published in the Marks Journal.
    (iv) After the publication of the application, the applicant is required to pay a registration fee within 3 months from the publication, and the application will be recorded in the Marks Register of the ARIPO. A trademark right will have an effect in the designated states (excluding the designated state which decides to reject the application in the above (ii)).

  • 6-5. Duration and Renewal of Registration
    The duration of a trademark right is 10 years from the filing date.
    The duration of a trademark right may be renewed for further 10 years on payment of the prescribed renewal fee.







7. Search Database
  • The home page of the ARIPO provides search (Quick Search and Advanced Search) for patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks.
    Publications (issued once a month) in and after March, 2015 can be browsed and downloaded. (Note that not only a target case(s) but also all cases, including the target case(s), published within a selected month are downloaded.






8. References




Patent & Trademark Attorney


Patent&Trademark Attorney
Adviser
Yoshihisa SUMI
Yoshihisa SUMI Graduate School of Science, Majored in Chemistry

Patent Attorneys have played a great role in the economic growth by establishing and protecting intellectual property rights.
I, being one of those patent attorneys, will do my best to play the role and make efforts with self-improvement so as to provide satisfaction to clients.

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