Africa: What You Need To Know About OAPI And ARIPO

by FPA Patent Attorneys
Contact

For some, Africa is a continent of poverty and conflict, shaped by its colonial past and dictatorships or unrest that followed. Others are slowly beginning to realise that the concept of an African Renaissance, popularised by South African ex-president, Thabo Mbeki, may become a reality in time.

In terms of African economies, it is interesting to note that a number of African countries have had continued economic growth above 5% over the last couple of years, ie even during the Global Financial Crisis1.  In fact, the continent’s average growth in GDP is estimated to be about 4.8% in 2013 and projected to be 5.3% in 20142.  

According to the AEO, the total external financial flows to Africa reached a historic high of an estimated US$ 186.3 billion in 20123.  It is well-known that China is heavily investing in Africa, building railroads all over the continent to access commodities.  Some sources say that Malaysia is an even bigger direct investor through firms such as Petronas and Sime Darby.  Other investing countries are France, the US, Britain, India and South Africa, to name but a few.  The move of US giant Walmart in 2011 to buy Massmart , the third largest distributor of consumer goods in Africa, made it clear that the world’s eyes are turning to Africa as a market, not only for oil, mining, agriculture, telecommunications and the like, but also as a consumer market.

Africa’s growth and the investment focus on Africa should make the continent a region to consider in terms of intellectual property. In this regard it is important to note that Africa has two regional patent systems, OAPI (Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle or African Intellectual Property Organization) and ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organization).  Even though the larger African economies of South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt do not form part of the regional systems, the OAPI and ARIPO system provide a relatively cheap, easy and effective way of extending patent protection to a total of 35 African countries with a combined nominal GDP of US$ 420 billion.  

A comparison between the two regional patent systems is provided below.

OAPI

 

ARIPO

ORGANISATION BASICS

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Union of the Comoros and Togo – 17 members

Members

Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – 18 members

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Patent Office

Harare, Zimbabwe

No coexistence of national IP legislation in member states, with OAPI thus serving as national office for each country.
An OAPI application automatically extends to all member states and no designation of states is necessary.

Type of protection

Member states have retained their national IP legislation and applications may still be filed through national patent offices.
At filing of an ARIPO application, states of interest should be designated.
Member states should ratify relevant treaties.

FILING REQUIREMENTS

30 months

National phase deadline

31 months

Yes, extension of 3 months available

Power of attorney necessary?

Yes, extension of 2 months available

English or French
(day of filing)

Filing language

English
(day of filing)

EXAMINATION

After grant

Publication

On grant (ie publication of acceptance)

No request to be filed

Examination request

No request to be filed

Formal examination relating to patentable subject matter, fair basis of claims, unity and formality requirements

Grounds of examination

Formal and substantive examination.  Substantive examination either by ARIPO, arranged by ARIPO or based on search reports from other jurisdictions

Absolute, but certain exceptions eg, official or officially recognised international exhibition exception

Novelty standard

Absolute, but official or officially recognised international exhibition exception

No

Grace period

No

Not allowable
Products for such methods may however be patentable

Methods of medical treatment

Dependent on national laws of member countries, but may be raised as objection by ARIPO

Not allowable

Computer programs

Dependent on national laws, mostly not allowable as such

Yes – (exceptionally high) fees payable at time of filing for claims beyond 10

Excess claims

Yes – fees payable for claims beyond 10 at time of grant

No

Prior art disclosure obligation

No

Yes, within 6 months of receipt of lack of unity notification

Provision for divisional applications?

Yes

No

Post-grant amendments

Dependent on national laws

 OPPOSITION

None

Type

None
National patent office may advise ARIPO within 6 months that patent will have no national effect

 INFRINGEMENT

Proceedings to be brought in country where infringement occurs

Type

Dependent on the national law of the country where infringement occurs

GENERAL

Yes

Signatory to Budapest Treaty

Yes

No

Extension of term for pharmaceuticals

No

Annually, from first anniversary of filing date

Renewals

Annually, from first anniversary of filing date

 

1. http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/05/development-africa

2. http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/outlook/forecast, Chapter 1, Economic outlook

3. http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/outlook/forecast, Chapter 2, Foreign investment, aid, remittances and tax revenue in Africa

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© FPA Patent Attorneys | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

FPA Patent Attorneys
Contact
more
less

FPA Patent Attorneys on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.