Our firm files Trademark and Patent applications through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (“ARIPO”).  The filing of an ARIPO application allows for a single filing that has effective protection in the relevant African ARIPO member states.


 The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) (hereinafter referred to as “the Organization”), is an intergovernmental Organization that  grants and administers Intellectual Property (IP) titles on behalf of its Member States and provides IP information to its clientele in the form of search services, publications and awareness creation.  Membership of the organization is open to all Member States of the African Union (AU) or of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).


The present members of the Organization are:  Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  (Total:  19 states)


The ARIPO Secretariat is based in Harare, Zimbabwe.




In terms of the Banjul Protocol on Marks a single filing may be done for the registration of a Trademark in any (or all) of the member states to the protocol.  A single filing is done wherein any number of the member states are designated. 


The member states to the Banjul Protocol are: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia, Uganda, Swaziland, Tanzania (Mainland) and Malawi.

 [17 May 2020] The Government of the Republic of Mozambique deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Banjul Protocol on Marks with the Director General of ARIPO on 15 May 2020. In accordance with the provisions of the Protocol, the latter will enter into force, with respect to the Republic Mozambique, on 15 August, 2020.

Pursuant to the above, with effect from 15 August 2020, Mozambique will be eligible for designation.

It is worth noting that Mozambique had already enacted provisions in its Intellectual Property Code (Decree Nr. 47/2015 of 31 December 2015) that would allow the immediate implementation of the Banjul Protocol if it became party to the Protocol (domestication of the Protocol).

The accession to the Banjul Protocol by the Republic of Mozambique brings the number of Member States party to the Protocol to eleven (11).


As Namibia is a contracting state to the Banjul Protocol, our firm is able to file ARIPO Trademark applications on behalf of clients.  We further act as ARIPO agents for a number of international institutions.


The filing requirements for an ARIPO Trademark application is:


  • The full particulars of the applicant, including the full registered name, country of incorporation, street address and description of the applicant;
  • A power of attorney (ARIPO does not require authentication of the signatures on a power of attorney);
  • The device trade mark (not exceeding 9cm x 9 cm) (our office prefers if a copy of the device is provided in an electronic format);
  • A list of the goods and/or services applicable to the proposed ARIPO Trademark (keeping in mind that a USD5.00 surcharge is application for all descriptions exceeding 50 words);
  • A list of the ARIPO contracting states to be designated on the ARIPO Trademark application;
  • If convention priority under the Paris Convention is claimed, a certified copy of the priority document (together with a certified English translation thereof, if the priority document is not in English) is required.


In terms of the Banjul Protocol, once a Trademark has been registered by ARIPO, it is protected in each designated state as if the mark had been filed and registered in such state.  Many clients see this aspect as an advantage to using an ARIPO Trademark application.


An ARIPO Trademark is valid for ten years from date of application and renewable for further periods of ten years.   The renewal of an ARIPO Trademark is done through the ARIPO office.

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In terms of the Harare Protocol, patent and industrial design applications may be lodged through single filing.  By filing a single application, an applicant is able to designate contracting states and thereby obtaining an industrial property right in more than one state.   Member states in which protection is required must be selected at the time of filing an ARIPO application.   Patent protection can also be obtained by filing a direct patent application in individual member states, but in many instances it is preferable to file an ARIPO application.


The member states to the Harare Protocol are: Botswana, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Rwanda, Swaziland, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.


·        Information:


·        Paris Convention: Yes

·        PCT: Yes (national phase deadline is 31 months from the priority date)


The filing requirements for a patent at ARIPO:


Convention application

  • Specification, claims, abstract and drawings (required on day of filing);
  • English translation of specification, claims, abstract and drawings if published in a different language (can be filed within 2 months);
  • Copy of Power of Attorney, simply signed (can be filed within 2 months);
  • Copy of Assignment of Invention, simply signed (can be filed within 4 months);
  • Certified priority document with English translation (can be filed within 3 months).


PCT national phase application (in addition to above documents)

  • Published PCT specification, claims, abstract and drawings (required on day of filing);
  • English translation of specification, claims, abstract and drawings if published in a different language (can be filed within 2 months);
  • Copy of Power of Attorney, simply signed (can be filed within 2 months);
  • Copy of Assignment of Invention, simply signed (can be filed within 4 months);
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability.


Novelty:   Absolute novelty is required.

Excess Fees:   Excess fees are incurred for specifications in excess of 30 pages and claims in excess of 10, payable at requesting search and examination for applications filed from 2020 (Excess fees for applications filed before 2020 are payable when paying grant and publication fees);

Examination:   Section 3(3) of the Protocol and Rule 18(1)(a) of the Regulations requires an applicant to request substantive examination and pay an examination fee within three (3) years from the date of filing. This three-year time period is calculated from the international filing date in the case of a PCT application designating ARIPO. In the case of a Paris Convention application, the time period is calculated from the ARIPO filing date. The request for examination shall be deemed to have been filed when the examination fee has been lodged. Where no request is made within the prescribed period, the application shall lapse.

Term of Patent:   Mostly 20 years from the effective filing.

Renewals:   Payable annually in advance from the first anniversary of the effective filing date. Renewal costs are based on the number of member states designated. 

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