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WIPO Regional Training for ARIPO Heads of IP Offices

January 4, 2024

On November 27 and 28, 2023, WIPO, together with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) of Botswana, co-organized WIPO Regional Training for ARIPO Heads of IP Offices in Gaborone, Botswana, with support from Funds-In-Trust Japan Industrial Property Global (FIT/Japan IP Global). The training program welcomed 27 heads or senior officials from ARIPO and IP offices in Botswana, Cape Verde, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Image: African Regional Intellectual Property Organization

The main objectives of the training were (i) to discuss products and services offered by the IP Office Business Solutions Division (IPOBSD), with regard to features, functions, and deployment requirements; (ii) to discuss case studies on model deployment of various products and services offered by IPOBSD; (iii) to discuss new technologies impacting filing, processing, registration, and maintenance of IP rights. These include artificial intelligence, blockchain, image search and classification, and cloud-hosting; and (iv) to discuss and strategize on regional cooperation and collaboration on regional projects, products and services including regional IP registers, data capture, data quality management, and digitization.

The training program welcomed 27 heads or senior officials from ARIPO and IP offices in Botswana, Cape Verde, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The training was opened by H.E. Mr. OHMORI Setsuo, Ambassador of Japan to Botswana, Mr. Joel Duke Ramaphoi, Caretaker CEO of CIPA Botswana, Mr. Twebaze Bemanya, Director General of ARIPO, and Mr. William Meredith, Director, IPOBSD on behalf of WIPO.

This was the first time that heads of IP offices from the region have actively and personally engaged in the topics of digital transformation, digitization and online services at the IP offices at a regional level. This meeting identified that there were big gaps in the completeness and quality of data at the IP offices, despite the projects that WIPO has conducted to digitize and improve data quality, mostly with the support of the FIT/Japan IP Global. To address this issue, WIPO proposed a regional-level assessment of data quality and completeness for all ARIPO member states.

Some case studies shared by the participants showed successful projects for delivery of online filing services, including online payment, delivery of data validation and digitization projects, and migration to cloud-hosted IP administration system (IPAS 4). As a result of this meeting, WIPO have confirmed requests from many countries to migrate to cloud-hosted IPAS and to provide full online services.

What did the training cover?

A range of topics relating to digitization and online services were covered, including:

  • Overview of digital transformation and new technologies;
  • Experience of digital Transformation at the Japan Patent Office;
  • Introduction to WIPO suite products and services;
  • Case studies on model deployments for various WIPO suite products in ARIPO member states;
  • Topical new technologies and roundtable discussion; and
  • Ongoing regional projects and collaborations.

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