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.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Co-operation agreements have been signed
- 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
Co-operation frameworks have been established with Morocco, Egypt,
Tunisia, Algeria and the Patent Office of the Gulf Co-operation
- 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
- 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
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
of internships in Europe for 2nd cycle IP students
for regional training centres.
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
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
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
countries, in South Africa and recently in Ethiopia.