ARIPO - Patents

African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO)

Background:

ARIPO formerly ESARIPO (before the reference to English Speaking was dropped) was created as a result of a diplomatic conference held in Zambia in 1976. At a further meeting in Zimbabwe in 1982, the Harare Protocol was adopted in terms of which ARIPO is empowered to grant patents and register industrial designs on behalf of its contracting states.

ARIPO is a member of the Paris Convention and it is possible to file independent applications claiming Convention Priority. ARIPO is also a member of the PCT and may be designated in a PCT International Application.

Membership:

Membership of ARIPO is open to all Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Currently, there are eighteen ARIPO states which may be designated in an application, namely: Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome e Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania (mainland), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Unlike OAPI, where a single application automatically covers all member states and it is not possible to designate the countries of interest, ARIPO applications specifically require the applicant to designate those member states where protection is required. The total of the official fees paid is directly linked to the number of member states so designated. Renewal fees are also directly linked to the number of States designated.

PCT:

All of the ARIPO states are also members of the PCT and may be designated when entering the ARIPO Regional Phase of a PCT International Application. If we do not receive instructions specifying the countries that are to be designated when filing, we shall designate all member states when filing the application.

The Chapter I and Chapter II deadlines are thirty-one months from the priority date.

Types of Patents available:

  • Patents of Invention
  • ARIPO Regional Phase PCT application

Novelty:

Absolute novelty is required. However novelty will not be destroyed if not earlier than six months before the filing date, the inventor or his successor discloses the invention by exhibiting it at an official or an officially recognised international exhibition.

Patentability:

Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body are not patentable. This provision does not apply to products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of these methods.

Requirements for filing:

Patents of Invention (Non-PCT):

  • Power of Attorney (simply signed) (can be late filed within two months)
  • Specification, claims and abstract in English (required on the day of filing)
  • Formal drawings, if applicable (required on the day of filing)
  • International Patent Classification (can be late filed, no set deadline)
  • Assignment of Invention (can be late filed no set deadline)
  • Priority document with verified English translation (can be late filed within three months)
  • Sequence listing if the patent application contains disclosure of one or more nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences. The sequence listing must also be submitted in electronic form which conforms to WIPO Standard ST.25

National Phase PCT applications:

  • Power of Attorney (simply signed) (can be late filed within two months)
  • Specification, claims and abstract in English (required on the day of filing)
  • Formal drawings, if applicable (required on the day of filing)
  • International Patent Classification (required on the day of filing)
  • Copy of PCT International Publication (required on day of filing)
  • Copy of International Search Report (can be late filed, no set deadline)
  • Copy of International Preliminary Examination Report (can be late filed, no set deadline)
  • Sequence listing if the patent application contains disclosure of one or more nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences. The sequence listing must also be submitted in electronic form which conforms to WIPO Standard ST.25

Grant:

The patent offices of the designated States are notified of the grant of an ARIPO patent. A patent granted by ARIPO has, in each designated State, the same effect as a patent registered, granted or otherwise having effect under the applicable national law. The term of a patent in each designated State, is twenty years from the filing date.

Renewal:

Renewal fees fall due annually commencing on the anniversary date of the filing date.

Note:

The national Patent law in Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia does not specifically provide for a twenty year term for an ARIPO patent. Patents filed directly in these countries have shorter terms with the option of applying for extensions. It is our belief that the term of an ARIPO patent in all of the member countries is twenty years without the need to apply for the extensions. However there remains a level of uncertainty in this regard.

Please contact us for further information.