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ARIPO-ACS39: Proposal to amend the Harare Protocol.

The Harare Protocol on Patent and Industrial Designs empowers the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) to grant patents, register utility models and industrial designs and to administer such patents, utility models and industrial designs on behalf of contracting states.

The Protocol has since its adoption been amended a number of times and the amendments have been undertaken to address specific issues affecting the grant, registration and administration of industrial property titles processed by the ARIPO Office.

During the thirty-ninth Session of the Administrative Council of the Organisation, which was held in Lusaka from November 16 to 18 2015, the ARIPO Office proposed the amendment to the Harare Protocol on Patent, Utility Models and Industrial Designs in order to improve and harmonise the Protocol with a new automated Industrial Property Business Processing ICT System (POLite+) and with international treaties like the Paris Convention, Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Seven amendments were proposed during this years session with two of the seven amendments being non technical re positioning of sections of the Act. The five other proposals are highlighted below:

  • Proposal to amend some articles of Section 3 on patents to include a sequence listing in patent application and the wording “micro biological process” or “products thereof” to be replaced by the wording, “biological material”;

  • Proposal to amend Rule 5(1) relating to form and contents of a Patent application to include sequence listing if the application relates to one or more nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences;

  • Proposal to introduce new Rule 18bis on divisional patent applications. The implementing regulation on patents and industrial designs have until now inadequately provided for divisional applications, the introduction of Rule 18bis will resolve this issue. The current Rule 18bis will be changed to Rule 18ter;

  • Proposal to introduce Rule 22(6) relating to extension of time limit with the intention to provide explicitly for extensions of time by the Director General as it is currently insufficiently addressed. This new subrule also comes with fees introduced for request for extension of time which are included in the proposed changes to the Schedule of Fees for Patents; and,

  • Proposal to amend Rule 23(3) and Rule 23(4) to make provision for the option of using a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) search and examination report during a substantive ARIPO search and examination process on patent applications. However, the grant of an ARIPO patent will be based on the ARIPO substantive search and examination report. The old provision made it mandetory for ARIPO to automatically accept the PCT search and examination report.

The Administrative Council approved the proposed amendments to the Harare Protocol on a proposal by the delegation of The Gambia which was seconded by Liberia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.

For more information on the proposals and discussions from the 39th Administrative Council meeting click on the #ARIPO-ACS39 tag below or for more information on this particular post please contact Oswald Alembong

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