Bilateral heads of office meeting with OAPI

29 March 2022

On 24 March, the President met Denis Bohoussou, the Director General of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI), to exchange on strategic developments at both offices since the last meeting in November 2020. The heads discussed a validation agreement between the EPO and OAPI's member states, clarifying the next legal and procedural steps.

The validation agreement breaks new ground for the Office and is expected to provide  EPO applicants with direct access to high-quality patent protection in 17 states in Africa, a market of some 280 million inhabitants. During the meeting, the EPO underlined its willingness to provide comprehensive legal, administrative and technical assistance to boost support to OAPI and its member states in order to facilitate the entry into force of the validation agreement.

During the virtual meeting, the OAPI delegation provided an update on their plan to introduce search and substantive patent examination in line with the recently revised Bangui Agreement (the treaty establishing the organisation). The EPO underlined its support for these plans and will continue to contribute by offering training to OAPI examiners and helping draft the Patent Examination Guidelines.

Additionally, the delegations exchanged on the Office's upcoming outreach projects and activities, including the Patent Engineer Master programme held at the "Institut National Polytechnique de Yamoussoukro". Following on from the training event held in November 2021, the EPO and OAPI will host additional events and training to support capacity building in OAPI member-states.

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