African Regional Intellectual Property Office

Entered into force on April 25, 1984, the Protocol covering patents and design rights empowered ARIPO to grant patents, register design, trademarks and utility models.  ARIPO covers the following English-speaking African countries:

Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In an ARIPO patent application, the applicant must designate one or more of the above countries. A separate designation fee is payable for each country designated. After grant the ARIPO patent will cover all designated countries, although no local action is needed at that stage. Separate renewal fees are then payable annually direct to the ARIPO Patent Office for each designated country and it is possible to abandon any of the designations by not renewing the patent for that country.

The Protocol was linked to the PCT on July 1, 1994 and states that any applicant filing for a PCT application can automatically designate ARIPO as a receiving state.  After the PCT has been applied for, 31 months are allowed until ARIPO applications enter regional phase.  Once granted, the patent is valid for 20 years in all designated States under ARIPO.