African Patent and Trademark Agents Exchange Views on Human Resource Development for Agents in Africa

October 29, 2014

An unprecedented meeting took place on October 27 and 28, 2014 in Harare (Zimbabwe), bringing together 36 African patent and trademark agents from 15 ARIPO member states. The aim was to explore ways to improve their current business procedures and to work together on bettering the intellectual property (IP) system in Africa.

In October, the African Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO) hosted a workshop of patent and trademark agents, representing almost all member states of ARIPO in its headquarters in Harare (Zimbabwe).

The workshop focused on facilitating exchanges among practicing patent and trademark agents and ARIPO to discuss initiatives that can be implemented to improve the quality of their business procedures. Participants discussed various issues, such as the harmonization of legislations, forming associations of agents at national and regional levels, and access to training opportunities. Emphasis was placed on the need for training on patent drafting for agents, which will help them go the extra mile for their clients to protect IP and open up the industry in their countries.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, the Honorable Mr. Fortune Chasi, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe underlined the necessity of optimizing the “quality and timeliness” of services and emphasized the need to “develop local skills” of agents to secure local intellectual assets.

The meeting was organized by WIPO, in cooperation with the ARIPO and the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

Useful resources

Participants and the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe

Participants and the Hon. Mr. Fortune Chasi, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe (Photo: WIPO)

A participant in the workshop asks a question during a discussion session

A participant posing a question in a discussion session. (Photo: WIPO)

Workshop participants chatting during a pause

Participants having a conversation during a break. (Photo: WIPO)

A small group exercise during the workshop

Participants working on a practical exercise in small groups. (Photo: WIPO)

A discussion during a round-table session

Participants discussing in a round-table session. (Photo: WIPO)

Mr. Takao Matsui, Patent Attorney, Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA).

Mr. Takao Matsui, Patent Attorney, Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA). Mr. Matsui shared his experience of the patent attorney system in Japan. (Photo: WIPO)