Patent Drafting Course for African Patent Agents starts at ARIPO

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A Patent Drafting Course for patent agents drawn from 15 African countries has commenced today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). The five day course is being held from 4-8 September 2017 at the ARIPO Auditorium in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The course has been organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with ARIPO and the assistance of the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

The ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, while making the opening remarks said that the course was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding courses in the intellectual property training and capacity building repertoire as the patent system serves to provide protection for functional aspects of inventions and innovations.

According to Mr. dos Santos, lack of awareness of the IP system in Africa can be blamed for the small percentage of PCT applications originating from Africa. There is also minimal awareness of services that national offices and ARIPO offer to the African countries.

He said it was upon this premise that the three organizations engaged into overdrive to improve capacity and awareness in African on IP systems.

“Intellectual property (IP) systems are needed to promote innovations and develop industries in Africa,” said Mr. David Tsunakake, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe who was the chief guest and made the opening remarks on behalf of the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado.

He said that IP systems were also needed to encourage investments from the private sector of other countries, including Japan.

He added, “Building an environment that supports the creation and marketing of intellectual assets will play a key role in boosting Africa’s next engine of growth.

The Government of Japan established the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa for IP systems at the TICAD IV in 2008. One of the main pillars of the Japan’s Funds-in-Trust is to enhance the education in the field of IP.  At the TICAD VI held in Nairobi last year, Japan also pledged to train 1,000 people on IP systems in Africa. So far, ARIPO in partnership with WIPO have conducted the patent drafting course since 2015.

The course will be facilitated by Mr. Atif Bhatti who is the Associate Legal Officer, Patent Law Section, Patent Law Division, Patents and Technology Sector at WIPO. Other experts will include Mr. Bastiaan Koster, South African Patent Attorney with Von Seidels Intellectual Property Attorneys; Mr. Masaharu Kizu, Japanese Patent Attorney with Soei Patent & Law Firm and Mr. Robert J. Sayre, US Patent Attorney with Modern Times Legal.