In a recent decision, the Cabinet of Ministers approved Seychelles' membership to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) through the accession of Seychelles to the Harare protocol. The Harare protocol provides for the protection of Patents, Industrial Designs and Utility Models within the framework of ARIPO. Seychelles' ratification of the Harare protocol is expected to be imminent, which will result in Seychelles becoming the 19th contracting state to the Harare protocol, along with Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Tanzania (Tanganyika), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The regional framework of ARIPO allows for the filing of a single patent application to obtain protection in several designated contracting states which retain their own national laws. ARIPO reduces the administrative burden of member countries and support a better output of their patent system. The director-general for the Trade Division of Seychelles, Ashik Hassen said, "On the government side, ARIPO provides technical assistance to its member states so that they can improve their national laws relating to intellectual property. It allows them to align and harmonize it to international best practices while retaining your own appropriate level of protection when it comes to intellectual property."
The designation of Seychelles in an ARIPO patent application will provide another route for obtaining patent protection in addition to the filing of a PCT National Phase patent application or Convention patent application or re-registration of a granted UK or European (UK) patent in Seychelles. It should be noted that it is uncertain if enforceable rights can be obtained by filing a PCT National Phase patent application in Seychelles, since the patent laws have not been amended accordingly.
KISCH IP has an entrenched history in Africa and aims to keep clients up to date with recent developments in order to navigate the various legal systems and structures throughout Africa.
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