By Head of ICT, Mr Grey Njowola

The ARIPO online Regional IP Database, launched in 2018, has continued to attract visitors keen on searching for IP records available in Africa from the centralized database that is free to use and easy to access.

The launch of the database was termed as groundbreaking in Africa, representing a significant step forward in the digitization of African IP data, especially in terms of easy-to-access and search functionality, and being on the radar of rights holders across the world.

The IP Database was designed to efficiently serve multiple purposes, including online provision of published IP data, encouragement of regional trade, IP scientific research, IP rights protection and enforcement in the ARIPO region, as well as sustainable development of IP.

During the development of the digital database, there were three main objectives that ARIPO was hoping to achieve; enhance the efficiency of business processing and other administrative work at the ARIPO office and those of its member states; facilitate the accessibility and use of IP information in the region and Africa at large; and strengthen IT institutional capacity in the ARIPO region and beyond. All were achieved.

Technology is an agent of change, and major technological innovations have resulted in paradigm shifts in the way business is conducted. At the ARIPO Office, ICT tools are being utilized to establish our presence in global intellectual property and to foster creativity and innovation for economic growth and development in Africa.

The Office has embarked on several ICT projects taking advantage of the ICT tools available to provide efficiency in IP business processing, support the availability of IP information, encourage IP scientific research and IP rights protection and enforcement.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 2020 IP Statistics Report, Africa as a whole accounted for only 0.5% of the patent, 1.7% of the trademarks and 1.1% for industrial designs applications filed internationally. The Database will therefore contribute significantly to improve the use and uptake of IP in the ARIPO region thereby increasing the number of local and regional applications which is still very low.

The IP database is free and easy to access for searches by IP Agents and anyone who wishes to find information or register a patent, industrial design or trademark.

The development of the Regional IP Database was supported by WIPO who provided the software for the database and assisted with the extraction of published IP data from the IPAS system in the Member States.

The ARIPO Regional IP Database has information from ARIPO, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The link to the database is