(WIPO code: AP) (last revised October 2020)

by SPOOR & FISHER JERSEY, Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

General Information

Origin, Members and Objects

The Industrial Property Organization for English-Speaking Africa (ESARIPO) was adopted by the Lusaka (Zambia) Agreement of 1976. The Agreement came into force on February 15, 1978. The Organization is now named African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), is established at Harare in Zimbabwe and has 20 member States namely: Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, MauritiusMozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé e Princípe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania (*), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Note: although Mauritius did become a member on September 25, 2020, it has not yet signed the underlying agreements, the Harare Protocol and the Banjul Protocol (see below), which means that its membership at this stage has no practical significance.

Within the Lusaka Agreement there are two protocols:
–    the Harare Protocol on Patents, Industrial Designs and Utility Models, and
–    the Banjul Protocol on Marks.
Their respective memberships and provisions are described below.

The objective of ARIPO is to be a central organization for the grant, registration and management of patent, industrial design, utility model and trademark rights. Every applicant may designate any one or more of the contracting States, in which the rights are to take effect. The ARIPO system is an alternative to national protection. It does not replace the national systems of the member countries. Depending upon the national laws of each contracting State, patent, design, utility model and trademark protection may still be sought through national grant or registration.
–    Other principles of the system are:
–    The ARIPO Office examines each application filed with it, in accordance with the Harare or Banjul protocol as appropriate.
–    An ARIPO grant or registration cannot be protected in a country if its subject matter cannot be protected under the national law of that country.
–    When the ARIPO Office intends to grant or register a right, it gives notice to that effect, to the national Office of each designated State. Within the prescribed time each such country may inform ARIPO that the right concerned is to have no effect in that country. If such notification is not given within the prescribed time, the ARIPO protocols state that protection of that right in that territory is to be automatic, and is to have the same effect in that State as a right having effect under the applicable national laws; and is to be governed by the national laws of that State.


The official language of the Central Registry in Harare is English and all fiscal fees are to be paid in United States dollars.

*  The United Republic of Tanzania has subscribed to ARIPO. The mainland portion of the United Republic (Tanganyika), and the islands of Zanzibar, have separate laws and systems concerning industrial property amongst other subjects. The Industrial Property Office (“BRELA”) in Dar es Salaam administers the system in force on the mainland. The laws under which it operates, as well as formal documents from and to that Office, refer to The United Republic of Tanzania but they affect the mainland territory only.