43rd Administrative Council Meeting of ARIPO Begins in Liberia

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Unification Town, Margibi – The 43rd Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), began Monday, November 18, in Liberia, at the Farmington Hotel in Unification Town, Margibi County.

The three-day Council is being attended by representatives from the 19 Member States of ARIPO and IP practitioners and agents from around the world.

In his opening remarks, the Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernando Dos Santos, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Government and people of Liberia for hosting both the Admin and Ministerial Councils of ARIPO.

According to him, with regards to the protection of Intellectual property rights, a momentum in filings was kept in 2019 as compared to the year 2018.

“However, I am particularly happy to report that this year a remarkable growth was recorded in trademark application with an increase of 12% compared to the year 2018,” he said.

Concerning capacity building, Santos highlighted that after the successful extension of the Masters in Intellectual Property Program to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Kumasi in Ghana last year, a similar program was launched this year in Tanzania in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salam.

“This is done with a view to fast track the creation of necessary skills for Africa to benefit more from the IP system. The Masters of IP that is currently delivered in collaboration with Africa University and the WIPO Academy with the support of the Japan’s Fund in Trust, has produced so far 324 graduates from 26 countries across Africa from its inception since 2008,” he disclosed.

Also in his opening remarks, the outgoing Chairman of the Administrative Council of ARIPO, Chikumbutso Namela, reflected on some of his ‘greatest’ achievements, which have been registered by ARIPO by the Republic of Malawi.

“In the biennium 2018-2019, ARIPO registered a number of notable achievements in the registration of Intellectual Property Rights, Information and Communication Technologies, the diplomacy, the awareness creation and capacity building,” highlighted the outgoing ARIPO Chair.

He added that an IP database was also developed with support from the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) in a bid to ease the access to publish IP titles from ARIPO office and its Member States.

“A pilot database was launched in September 2018 and it has currently more than 450,000 Intellectual Property titles from ARIPO office and 12 Member States,” he added.

The guest of honor and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, stated that Liberia’s preferment to host the ARIPO meetings was never a mistake despite the ‘major economic challenge’ in the country.

“It shows our overall commitment to the principles and tenets of Intellectual Property,” the Commerce Minister added.

Prof. Tarpeh stressed that it is important for political actors to formulate policies that will provide the legal space for IP instruments as to enable them get commercial recognition.

“No creator in Africa must be requested to provide collateral of tangible assets before acquiring loan at his own African banks,” the Minister stated.

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