The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and sister organization, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle [African Intellectual Property Organization] (OAPI), signed a four year Cooperation Agreement on 09 February 2017 at the ARIPO headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. This Agreement, which is envisaged to take the relationship of the two organizations to new heights, abrogates two earlier agreements signed by the two organizations in 1996 and 2005 respectively.
The new Agreement establishes a comprehensive cooperation framework in intellectual property matters for the two parties. In the new Agreement, OAPI and ARIPO have agreed to: work towards the harmonization of their systems; exchange documentation and technical information; mutually cooperate in the development of training and joint capacity building programs including in user awareness. The agreement also requires that either party offers technical assistance to the other when such assistance has been requested for. Importantly too, OAPI and ARIPO agreed to take common positions on major IP issues affecting the Member States of the two organizations at continental and international levels.
Directors General Dr. Paulin Edou Edou of OAPI and Mr. Fernando dos Santos of ARIPO signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.
To operationalize the Agreement, OAPI and ARIPO have jointly developed and adopted a biannual work plan for the period 2017 – 2018 that sets out specific aspects of collaboration and itemized activities to be pursued in the different areas of cooperation with agreed details on expected results, their coordination and administration as well as the timelines.
A joint commission established by the two will meet annually to assess the level of implementation of those agreed biannual work plans.