EPO and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization sign reinforced partnership

Munich, 18 December 2019 – In an effort
to enhance international co-operation and strengthen the global patent system,
the EPO has signed a Reinforced Partnership agreement with the African Regional
Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). Under the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by EPO
President António Campinos and ARIPO Director General Fernando dos Santos in Zimbabwe on 16
December, the EPO will support ARIPO in building up its capacity to efficiently
search and examine patent applications that are validated in its member states.

ARIPO is an inter-governmental organisation
that facilitates co-operation among its member states on intellectual property
matters. It consists of 19 mostly English-speaking countries, representing a
market of some 350 million inhabitants – with Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania
and Uganda being the fastest growing economies.
Together with the EPO’s member states, extension states, validation agreements and other reinforced partnerships, the EPO’s work products now cover a market of some 1.9 billion inhabitants.

“I am very pleased to conclude a
reinforced partnership with ARIPO, the first regional organisation to sign this
advanced co-operation agreement with the EPO,” said Mr Campinos. “It demonstrates the strong commitment
of our offices to enhancing co-operation in order to support innovation and
economic development in both our regions. Africa is an increasingly dynamic
part of the global economy with strong growth potential. It stands to benefit
from greater awareness of intellectual property, and improved access to the
patent system.”

“ARIPO
and EPO have a longstanding co-operation, and many positive results have
already been achieved in the framework of that co-operation,” said ARIPO
Director General dos Santos. “The signing of this memorandum comes at the right
moment as ARIPO has been forging partnerships and has embarked on a number of
initiatives aimed at ensuring that we build an effective patent examination
system. We are pleased that through the Reinforced Partnership our examiners
will be able to benefit from capacity building by one of the most experienced patent
offices in the world, and will have access to a full range of supporting tools
and procedures such as EPOQUE Net.”

Under the MoU, ARIPO will make systematic
and effective use of the EPO’s work products, tools and practices in order to
boost its ability to deliver high-quality, timely and efficient search and
examination of national patent filings for its member states.  The agreement is valid for the next
five years, and can be extended by further five-year periods.

Media
contacts European Patent Office

Luis Berenguer
Gimenez

Spokesperson
T: +49892399 1800

EPO press desk
Tel.: +49 89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 163 8399527
press@epo.org

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