On Monday, 10 September 2018 the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) launched a Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Database at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. The centralized database with published IP titles from ARIPO and its Member States is free and easy to access.

The IP Database is designed to efficiently serve multiple purposes, including on-line 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.

“Technology is an agent of change, and major technological innovations have resulted in paradigm shifts in the way business is conducted. As the ARIPO Office we are utilizing ICT tools to establish our presence in global intellectual property and to foster creativity and innovation for economic growth and development in Africa,” said the ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos as he officially launched the database.

“The Office has embarked on a number of 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,” He added.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 2016 IP Statistics Report, Africa as a whole accounted for only 0.6% of the total 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 Representative of the Director General of WIPO at the launch, Mr. Gregory Sadyalunda who is the Project Manager in the IP Office Business Solutions Division at WIPO, congratulated ARIPO for taking the lead in the project and also to ARIPO member States that availed data to support the regional platform.

Mr. Sadyalunda who led the WIPO Development and Support teams said the platform was now at the implementation stage that will be challenging. “Some of the challenges we expect are in the data cleaning and validation, internet connectivity and local hosting infrastructure as well as if people trained to capture data move. However, we have some solutions to that, we propose to have cloud hosting of the Regional IP Database as it will be accessible from anywhere without much infrastructure needed,” noted Mr. Sadyalunda.

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 launch took place the same day as a weeklong Regional Training Workshop on Online Tools and Services for Industrial Property Administration and Automation commenced. The training organized by WIPO in collaboration with ARIPO and with support from the Japan Patent Office brought together participants from Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar. The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) was also represented by the Director of Information and Publication Systems, Mr. Hamidou Kone.

The link to the database is Reginal Database