African Regional Intellectual Property Organization
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), formerly African Regional Industrial Property Organization, is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in patent and other intellectual property matters. ARIPO was established by the Lusaka Agreement of 1976. It has the capacity to hear applications for patents and registered trademarks in its member states who are parties to the Harare (patents), Banjul (marks) and Arusha (plant varieties) protocols. ARIPO also features a protocol on the protection of traditional knowledge, the Swakopmund Protocol, signed in 2010 by 9 member states of the organization which entered into force on May 11, 2015, and was amended on December 6, 2016.
ARIPO has the WIPO ST.3 code AP. Its 19 member states are mostly English-speaking countries. Rwanda became the 18th member state on March 24, 2010, and São Tomé and Príncipe on May 19, 2014 (the Harare Protocol entered into force on August 19, 2014 with respect to São Tomé and Príncipe).
The name of the organization changed from African Regional Industrial Property Organization to African Regional Intellectual Property Organization in 2005.
At a patents and copyright seminar for English-speaking African countries organised in October 1972 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the country representatives endorsed a plan to have WIPO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) organise a conference to discuss the harmonisation of industrial property legislation and the creation of a central office. The conference, to which 19 English-speaking countries were invited, took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4 to 10 June 1974. During the conference, a draft agreement toward the establishment of an organisation on industrial property for the English-speaking African countries was prepared and several resolutions were passed to facilitate that goal; it was also agreed to eventually hold a diplomatic conference to adopt the draft.
The diplomatic conference to adopt the agreement was subsequently convened by WIPO and UNECA in Lusaka, Zambia, from 6 to 9 December 1976. 13 English-speaking African countries sent delegates. The "Agreement on the Creation of the Industrial Property Organization for English-speaking Africa" (Lusaka Agreement) was adopted on 9 December 1976 with Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia as original signatories. It entered into force on 15 February 1978. The general purpose of the new regional organisation, known at the time as ESARIPO, was to achieve a higher degree of cooperation in the area of industrial property; this included efforts to work toward the harmonisation and joint development of national industrial property laws. The organisation was originally based in Nairobi, Kenya, until it was decided in 1981 to move the headquarters to Harare, Zimbabwe.
Under the Lusaka Agreement, membership to ESARIPO was originally open to English-speaking African countries (Lusaka Agreement, art IV). The Agreement also provided that the organisation maintain a close working relationship with WIPO and UNECA (art V) and cooperate with other appropriate organisations (art VI) such as OAPI. Early on, ESARIPO was especially focused on harmonisation efforts in the area of patent law. At the Diplomatic Conference in Lusaka, the members requested that until the organisation has established its own secretariat, WIPO and UNECA should "take the necessary preparatory steps for the implementation of the project to establish a patent documentation center in the framework of a regional Office". This process culminated in the adoption of the Harare Protocol on patents on designs in 1982.
|Country||Date of accession/ratification|
|Lusaka Agreement||Harare Protocol||Banjul Protocol||Swakopmund Protocol||Arusha Protocol|
(not yet in force)
|Botswana||6 February 1985||6 May 1985||29 October 2003||28 March 2012||X|
|Gambia||15 February 1978||16 January 1986||X||11 February 2015||X|
|Ghana||15 February 1978||25 April 1984||X||X||X|
|Kenya||15 February 1978||24 October 1984||X||X||X|
|Lesotho||23 July 1987||23 October 1987||12 February 1999||X||X|
|Liberia||24 December 2009||24 March 2010||24 March 2010||25 October 2016||X|
|Malawi||15 February 1978||25 April 1984||6 March 1997||20 December 2012||X|
|Mozambique||8 February 2000||8 May 2000||15 May 2020||X||X|
|Namibia||14 October 2003||23 April 2004||14 January 2004||11 February 2015||X|
|Rwanda||24 June 2011||24 September 2011||X||16 July 2012||7 June 2019|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||19 May 2014||19 August 2014||27 November 2015||X||29 September 2020|
|Sierra Leone||5 December 1980||25 February 1999||X||X||X|
|Somalia||10 December 1981||X||X||X||X|
|Sudan||2 May 1978||25 April 1984||X||X||X|
|Swaziland||17 December 1987||17 March 1988||6 March 1997||X||X|
|Tanzania||12 October 1983||1 September 1999||1 September 1999||X||X|
|Uganda||8 August 1978||25 April 1984||21 November 2000||X||X|
|Zambia||15 February 1978||26 February 1986||X||28 August 2015||X|
|Zimbabwe||11 November 1980||25 April 1984||6 March 1997||22 April 2013||X|
As of 31 December 2019[update], five countries have signed the Arusha Protocol of 6 July 2015 (Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Tanzania). As of 31 December 2020[update], two countries have ratified or acceded to it (Rwanda and São Tomé and Príncipe). For the Protocol to enter into force, four countries need to have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.
ARIPO’s organisational structure consists of four organs: the Council of Ministers, the Administrative Council, the Secretariat, and the Board of Appeal.
- See the list of ARIPO-administered treaties Archived 2016-11-12 at the Wayback Machine at WIPO website. Consulted on July 4, 2013.
- "Member States". ARIPO. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- ARIPO web site, Rwanda Joins ARIPO Archived November 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, News, Thursday, 4 August 2011. Consulted on September 16, 2011.
- Rwanda Joins ARIPO Archived 2013-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, PCT Newsletter, September 2011, No. 09/2010, p. 1.
- "Sào Tomé and Príncipe". ARIPO. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2014.; "Sao Tome and Principe Joins ARIPO". PCT Newsletter, No. 06/2014. WIPO. June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- T Kongolo, "History of intellectual property in Africa" (2017) 39 EIPR 428, 433; T Kongolo, African Contributions in Shaping the Worldwide Intellectual Property System (Ashgate 2013) 75; ES Nwauche, "An Evaluation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Right Systems" (2003) 6 JWIP 101, 128.
- T Kongolo, "History of intellectual property in Africa" (2017) 39 EIPR 428, 434.
- T Kongolo, "Historical Developments of Industrial Property Laws in Africa" (2013) 5 WIPOJ 105, 113.
- International Bureau of WIPO, "Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of an Agreement on the Creation of an Industrial Property Organization for English-Speaking Africa" (1977) 16 Industrial Property 43, 43.
- CB Ncube, Intellectual Property Policy, Law and Administration in Africa (Routledge 2016) 98; T Kongolo, "Historical Developments of Industrial Property Laws in Africa" (2013) 5 WIPOJ 105, 113. The original text of the Lusaka Agreement is reprinted as Text 1-002 in  Industrial Property Laws and Treaties.
- MH Chirambo, "The African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) as an Example of Regional Cooperation in the Field of Patents (WIPO/INV/BEI/02/10)" (2002) 8.
- International Bureau of WIPO, "Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of an Agreement on the Creation of an Industrial Property Organization for English-Speaking Africa" (1977) 16 Industrial Property 43, 44.
- Cf T Kongolo, "Historical Developments of Industrial Property Laws in Africa" (2013) 5 WIPOJ 105, 113.
- ARIPO, "PERMANENT NOTICES" Archived 2021-01-28 at the Wayback Machine (31 December 2020) 37(12) ARIPO Journal, 2.
- ED de Plessis, Adams & Adams Practical Guide to Intellectual Property in Africa (Pretoria University Law Press 2012) 567, 584ff; BM Wood-Kahari, "ARIPO" in E Fennessy (ed), Trademarks Throughout the World (Clark Boardman Callaghan) (looseleaf, October 2019 Update), para 9A:1.
- ARIPO, "ARIPO 2019 Annual Report" Archived 2020-12-04 at the Wayback Machine (2020) accessed 19 January 2021, 13.
- ARIPO, "Rwanda takes the lead in joining the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants within the framework of ARIPO" Archived 2021-01-28 at the Wayback Machine (7 June 2019) accessed 19 January 2021.
- ARIPO, "São Tomé and Príncipe Ratifies the Arusha Protocol" Archived 2021-01-27 at the Wayback Machine (1 October 2020) accessed 19 January 2021.
- Arusha Protocol 2015, art 40(3).
- "ARIPO Patent Office homepage". Archived from the original on 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- "Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO)". www.eapo.org. Archived from the original on 2021-03-29. Retrieved 2021-04-03.