After a break in the online operations at the Zimbabwean Registry, it is now back to business as usual with the Registry's Industrial Property Automated System (IPAS) being back up and running since 7 May 2021.

Although this is a step in the right direction, presently all of ZIPO's staff are engaged in data capturing of applications filed in 2020. The Controller of Patents, Trade Marks & Industrial Designs advised that WIPO has enabled the IPAS system to allow allocation of 2020 filing dates to matters filed in that year and ZIPO expects to complete the data capturing exercise of 2020 matters by the end of May 2021. Thereafter, ZIPO will start processing applications filed in 2021.

Zimbabwe remains under a Level II lockdown, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Registry continues to operate on a limited capacity at this stage, only allowing inter alia for the lodgement of documents between the hours of 08h30 to 12h30 Monday to Thursday and limiting searches to a maximum of 5 searches per day per firm.

Despite the operational constraints experienced by ZIPO, the Controller of Patents, Trade Marks & Industrial Designs has been requested to provide a detailed update on various matters including ZIPO's proposed timelines and strategy to tackle the backlog of filings and other processes at the office and practitioners are anticipating positive feedback from the Registry in the coming months.

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