During a two-day seminar held under the theme ‘Making better use of IP for business competitiveness and development in Africa’. The Director General of African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), Fernando Santos, stated that Botswana innovators and entrepreneurs are not taking advantage of the countries ARIPO membership.
According to him “In 40 years of the existence of the organisation only 11 patents, two industrial designs and one trademark were filed by Botswana nationals”.
ARIPO is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in patent and other industrial property matters. Currently it has 19 member states including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Namibia. Nigeria, South Africa, Eritrea, and Ethiopia are not members.
Also speaking at the event was the Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rosinah Bontsi. According to her “Botswana has benefited from technical assistance offered by ARIPO in the administration of the IP Act, which involves the examination of patents and industrial designs, training of staff in CIPA and conducting awareness seminars on IP laws”. She further stated that “Botswana also receives revenue from ARIPO, being registration fees for patents and trademarks filed through regional systems of the Harare and Banjul Protocol’.