ARIPO Names Building Housing New Regional Intellectual Property Training Center after Dr. Kamil Idris

Geneva, February 20, 2006
Press Updates UPD/2006/266

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) inaugurated on February 15, 2006, a regional intellectual property (IP) training center, naming the building housing the Center after the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of IP as a tool for development. Dr. Idris also met with the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert Mugabe, to discuss the importance of intellectual property to development and wealth creation.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Vice-President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mrs. Joice Mujuru, said the new training center "marks an important milestone in the history" of ARIPO and "will serve as a center of excellence in the teaching, training and skills development in the field of intellectual property." Paying tribute to Dr. Idris and the other eminent personalities who were being honored at the ceremony, the Vice President said "your tireless efforts that laid the firm foundation for the growth of the organization as well as the development of intellectual property systems in Africa is greatly appreciated. It is my sincere hope that your extraordinary leadership qualities and experiences will continue to inspire generations to come."

Dr. Idris thanked ARIPO for the honor bestowed upon him and WIPO in the naming of the training center. The Director General lauded the members of ARIPO for their commitment to using IP as a strategic tool for development and wealth creation. He said that the training center is "an excellent statement of intent that ARIPO will use IP to promote development in Africa." Dr. Idris reaffirmed WIPO's commitment to supporting the development of ARIPO and to continuing a 30-year old tradition of cooperation between the two organizations. ARIPO, established in 1976, deals with the harmonization of IP procedures, awareness-building, and administration of IP rights among its 16 member states which include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Mr. Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr. P. A. Chinamasa, Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Mr. Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Chief Justice, other senior officials and ministers and ambassadors of ARIPO member states. The ceremony was followed by the official launch of the WIPO Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS) at the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO). The WIPO IPAS is a comprehensive automation solution for small-to-medium IP offices in developing countries, developed by WIPO and is continually enhanced with new functionality and value added services based on the feedback of IP offices. IPAS introduces simplification of work procedures and covers end-to-end processing of trademarks, patents and industrial designs, throughout their life-cycle. IPAS offers a cost-effective and an appropriate technology solution and is designed for flexibility to be customized and adapted to specific needs of a national IP office. IPAS is currently operational in IP offices across regions and has become an integral part of their day-to-day work. ZIPO is the 29th IP office where IPAS has been deployed.

In a meeting with President Mugabe, Dr. Idris reviewed cooperation between WIPO and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He reaffirmed WIPO's commitment to pursuing technical cooperation with the country, in particular support of the further development of the Republic of Zimbabwe's IP infrastructure. Dr. Idris highlighted the need for regional and international cooperation to promote the establishment of an IP culture and stronger recognition of the role of IP as a policy instrument for development. This, he said, was the key to encouraging innovation, to effective use of the IP system and to development.

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