The 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) will be held from 23rd to 26th August 2021 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo. The main objective of the Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council is to endorse the draft Protocol on Voluntary Registration of Copyright and Related Rights that was reviewed by an Experts Committee that met on 20 and 21 August 2021 for onward transmission to the Diplomatic Conference that will be held at the same venue from 27th to 28th August 2021 for its adoption.
The Extra Ordinary Session will also discuss other items of its traditional agenda, including the proposals to amend the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs and the Banjul Protocol on Marks with a view to making them more user friendly as well as aligning them to relevant international treaties and best practices.
Furthermore, the Extraordinary Session will discuss, among others, the status of the 2020 Intellectual Property Rights Reports of Chairpersons of Technical Committees that include Copyright and Related Rights, Industrial Property and Plant Variety Protection as well as the Reports of the Chairpersons of the Administrative Committees for Audit, Finance and Human Capital.
As part of the Extraordinary session of the Administrative Council, the Intellectual Property Rights & Innovation in Africa (AfrIPI) project will be officially launched on 26 August 2021 from 2 pm. The event will be graced by the Chairperson of the ARIPO Council of Ministers as the Guest of Honour, as well as the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Muchanga.
Key speakers will include the ARIPO Director General, Mr Bemanya Twebaze, OAPI Director General Mr Denis Bohoussou, as well as the AfrIPI project team leaders Mr Dennis Scheirs and Mr Gregor Schneider. The AfrIPI is an international cooperation project funded by the European Union and cofunded and implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Its objective is to facilitate economic growth in Africa by promoting and raising awareness of the importance and value of intellectual property in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which entered into force in May 2019 and unleashed the potential of integrating the economies of the 54 countries that signed the Agreement. AfrIPI will be executed on a 5 year period until 2025.
The 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council will gather the Heads of Industrial Property and Copyright and Related Rights Offices from the 20 ARIPO Member States and potential Member States. Some of the ARIPO Co-operating Partners attending include the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI), Artistas Intérpretes, Sociedad de Gestión (AISGE) and the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO).
Patent Agents in attendance will include Adams & Adams from South Africa, Roland Intellectual Property Consultants of Namibia, Ngeri, Omiti & Bush Advocates of Kenya, Inventa International, and from Zimbabwe: B Matanga Intellectual Property Attorneys; Donsa, Nkomo & Mutangi Legal Practitioners, Muvingi & Mugadza Legal Practitioners.
Hosting of the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Administrative Council, the Experts Meeting and the Diplomatic Conference have been made possible with the support from Member States, more especially the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and the EUIPO.
The 20 ARIPO Member States are Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.