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The International Trademark Association (INTA) CEO, Mr. Etienne Sanz de Acedo visited the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) on 26 June 2017 in his maiden visit to Zimbabwe and Africa.
According to Mr. de Acedo, “Africa has great potential. It is the second growing continent worldwide. However, with the growth comes bigger risk for companies and small and medium enterprises. There is need therefore to continue investing in the continent. INTA wants to be a global organization and wants to service African countries as part of its ‘African Rising Campaign’.
“INTA is paying more attention to Africa. We want to increase INTA’s membership in the continent. The advantage of membership is the chance to network with members from across the glode, access to database on trademarks and continuous education,” adds Mr. de Acedo.
INTA is the world’s largest brand owner association and undertakes advocacy work throughout the world to advance trademarks and brands. The Association’s member organization represents some 30,000 trademark professionals and includes brand owners from major corporations as well as small-medium-sized enterprises, law firms and not-profits.
So far, INTA has one permanent seat for a Board Member from Africa which is currently held by Mrs. Brenda Kahari who Senior Partner at BW Kahari based in Harare, Zimbabwe. According to INTA Africa Board Member, Mrs. Brenda Kahari, the CEO is on an exploratory in Zimbabwe to understand what happens on the ground.
This year marks 20 year relationship between INTA and ARIPO. When Zimbabwe joined the Banjul Protocol, following Lesotho and Swaziland, the Protocol on registration and administration of trademarks came into effect. Thereafter, ARIPO became a member of INTA to promote its system for registration, to network with law firms and corporations and to obtain valuable information in the field of trademarks. Representatives of INTA visited ARIPO at its offices on 4th Street and Samora Machel Avenue, Harare in 1997 as a familiarization tour of ARIPO as the regional system for trademarks.
In 1999, the INTA President, Jackie Leimer, addressed the ARIPO Council of Ministers meeting in Tanzania. A few years later a cooperative agreement was signed between the two organizations. The relationship between the organizations has strengthened over the years. 
There are today 10 Member States of ARIPO who are part of the Banjul regional system where owners of brands may obtain registration.