By Daniel Chigundu
AFRICAN Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) has launched its regional intellectual property database (RIPD) which seeks among other things to enable users to centrally view all published IP titles in the region.
According to the organisation’s director general Fernando Dos Santos, the idea to create the database was mooted in 2014 at a meeting that was held in Victoria Falls.
“The project proposal for the creation of a regional database for published IP titles of the ARIPO Office and those of its member states was presented and approved at the 38th Session of the Administrative Council of ARIPO, held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in 2014.
“The main objective was for ARIPO to create a centralised database for its published IP titles and those of its member states.
“The Regional IP Database that enables users to centrally view all published IP tiles in the ARIPO region has now been set up. The ARIPO Regional IP Database is being launched today with IP information from ARIPO, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dos Santos added that the “Regional IP Database is designed to serve multiple purposes, including the 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 the unsustainable development of IP,” he said.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) 2016 IP statistics report, Africa as a whole account for only 0.6 percent of the total applications filed internationally.
The regional database is expected to significantly contribute to the improved use and uptake of IP in the ARIPO region thereby increasing the number of local and regional applications which is still very low.
Speaking at the same occasion, Gregory Sadyalunda, who was representing the WIPO director general applaud ARIPO for the database adding that the next phase of implementation is the most challenging.
“Today we enter into a new, most challenging phase of the project: implantation. It’s not going to be easy, reforms, particularly financial management reforms, can be painful and difficult bot technically and politically.
“But the lessons learned during the first trust fund implementation will serve as a good basis to perform better and faster in the second phase,” he said
The IP database will be 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 provide the software for the database and assisted with the extraction of published IP data from the IPAS system in the member states.