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An introduction to the project

EPO activities in this region date back to the early days of the Office. A dedicated project was established in July 2000. The national IP offices of our member states, in particular France, Germany, Portugal and the UK, are directly associated with the project.

Geographical scope:

Sub-Saharan Africa: Co-operation agreements have been signed with the
following partners:

  • ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation), headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe
  • OAPI (Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle), headquarters in Yaounde, Cameroon
  • CIPRO (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office), headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa.

Arab world:

  • Co-operation frameworks have been established with Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and the Patent Office of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
  • Activities have been organised in the Middle East, in particular with Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Objectives and Background: The project strategy can be summarised as follows:

  • Develop integrated and realistic proposals for improving the institutional and operative capacities necessary to the functioning of a small or medium-scale IP office, and elaborate specific tools and methods for their use
  • Link the assistance programmes in the IPR field for each country/region with programmes for general economic and industrial development
  • Promote co-operation and synergies within and between the sub-regions; preferably following the ”south-to-south” approach to the transfer of know-how
  • Make patent information readily available to IP offices and the public; develop new tools and support the establishment of training centres in the region, particularly developing professional skills in retrieving and evaluating patent documentation
  • Adapt the projects aimed at modernising administrative structures and human resources development to the above-mentioned concepts
  • Seek co-ordination of all relevant partners, in particular the EPO member states.

Modernisation and awareness projects: the following projects have been conducted over the last yeasr:

  • Development and installation of a fully automated system for administering procedures, based on the POLite methodology of the EPO, for ARIPO
  • Development and installation of hardware and software for scanning and indexing of documentation in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, South Africa, ARIPO, OAPI, Jordan and Egypt
  • Electronic publication of patent data on CD-ROMs for OAPI
  • Integration of OAPI into esp@cenet® .


  • Over 50 participants from the region are invited every year to seminars organised by the EPO’s European Patent Academy
  • Annual study cycles at CEIPI for selected candidates
  • Organisation of internships in Europe for 2nd cycle IP students
  • Support for regional training centres.

Regular events:
The project has initiated a series of large-scale public events, including regional conferences and forums, in order to facilitate political and technical dialogue and to provide opportunities for the exchange of views and experiences.

The most important of these events is the EPO Regional Forum on Industrial Property for Africa and the Middle east. The first Forum, held in Casablanca in April 2001, was followed by a second event in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2003. The third Forum will be held in June 2005, in Dakar, as EPO Regional Forum for Africa. Parallel to these initiatives, conferences for the Arab region were held in October 2002 in Beirut and June 2004 in Cairo.

Events dedicated to technical questions related to IP are organised in the form of awareness seminars. They are regularly organised in the ARIPO and OAPI regions, as well as in the Portuguese-speaking countries, in South Africa and recently in Ethiopia.

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Last Update: 09 June 2005 11:19:18.
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3rd EPO Forum for Africa:
Intellectual Property, Innovation, Sustainable development
Dakar, 14- 17 June 2005
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