8 September 2021
In an online ceremony on 8 September, EPO President António Campinos together with the heads of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the national patent offices of Angola and Ethiopia launched the virtual Regional ARIPO Patent Examination Training programme (ARPET programme). This is the largest ever training programme undertaken by the EPO with offices outside Europe.
More than 100 participants from ARIPO and the national offices of its 20 member states, as well as of Angola and Ethiopia, will participate in the 18-month ARPET programme, which provides a modular, competency-based training framework and curriculum. The participants will receive training from EPO and ARIPO experts on how to conduct high-quality and timely searches and examine local patent applications, incorporating the EPO's best practices in respect of second filings.
ARPET also includes a tailormade module about training people to make the best use of the patent system and related tools and services. This will help ensure that participating offices can support local innovators in protecting and commercialising their inventions. The aim is to grow capacity and competencies in these national offices and to help implement international best practices in search and examination. A further feature of ARPET is a dedicated train-the-trainer component, which will ensure that participating offices develop the capacity to independently organise subsequent ARPET programmes in the future.
The President thanked the Director-Generals - Mr Bemanya Twebaze of ARIPO, Ms Ana Paula Miguel of the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property (IAPA) and Mr Ermias Hailemariam of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) - for their commitment to co-operation that delivers tangible results. "Promoting patent knowledge and the use of the patent system fosters the creation of domestic patent rights, leading to the protection and commercialisation of local innovation that stimulates economic growth throughout the region", said Mr Campinos.
The joint training programme, implemented within the framework of the Reinforced Partnership agreement that the EPO launched with ARIPO in 2019, has multiple benefits. It maximises outreach and impact at the same time as helping to make optimal use of available resources and avoid duplication of efforts. The President concluded by thanking the participants: "Not only are you pioneers but you're very much part of a forward-looking effort to ensure the long-term sustainability and benefits of the training programme."