The Republic of Tunisia and the Federal Republic of Somalia were admitted as members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) during the COMESA Heads of States and Governments Summit held on 18 and 19 July 2018 in Lusaka, Zambia.

COMESA now has 21-member states - Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

COMESA is a regional trade bloc aimed at establishing a free trade area, amongst other things. COMESA's vision is to "be a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high standards of living for all its people ready to merge into an African Economic Community" while its mission is to "endeavour to achieve sustainable economic and social progress in all Member States through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information, technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources".


Representatives from Adams & Adams, Simon Brown, Nicky Garnett and Dieter Welthagen travelled to Tunis to visit our Associate Office, as well as the Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriete Industrielle (INNORPI) . We met with the Director General Ms Amel Ben Farhat and a number of registry officials including Mokhtar Hamdi, Director of Industrial Property , Nafaa Boutiti, Deputy Director of Industrial Property and Hasna Rezgui ep Chahdoura, Head of Service Bilateral Cooperation Foreign Relations Unit and Nawel Zbidi Daghma Deputy Director , Service Bilateral Cooperation Foreign Relations Unit. We were given an introduction to the varied responsibilities of INNORPI and the recently launched Industrial Property Management Program . In terms of this program, INNORPI seeks to bridge the gap between research and intellectual property protection and several Technology Transfer offices as well as technoparks and technical centres have been opened in an effort to increase the awareness of the benefits of using the IP system as a business tool. INNORPI also has an IP Academy providing training activities for local IP Professionals and users of the IP system. They have recently started conducting substantive search and examination of patent applications. It currently has limited capacity but aims to appoint 10 examiners covering all technical fields in the near future.

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