12 December 2022
On 6 December 2022, EPO President António Campinos visited the headquarters of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) in Harare, Zimbabwe.
As part of a delegation visit to Africa, the EPO and ARIPO co-hosted the PATLIB seminar "IP awareness sessions on patents and innovation for Africa", jointly organised and funded by AfrIPI. President Campinos also availed of the opportunity to hold a bilateral meeting with ARIPO Director General Bemanya Twebaze.
The EPO President opened the PATLIB seminar by stressing the role and importance of the network in supporting African universities on the path to knowledge transfer and stated that "Our Knowledge Transfer 2 Africa initiative (KT2A) - implemented in August this year - is in place to foster cooperation between our PATLIB network and more than 60 universities spanning the continent. We want to lay down the groundwork for exploring skills in patent knowledge, technology transfer and patent commercialisation capabilities".
The EPO launched KT2A in April 2022 to disseminate the experience and expertise gained by the PATLIB network beyond Europe's borders. The aim of this initiative is to foster innovation and technology transfer in selected African universities, in close cooperation with regional and national IP offices.
PATLIB is the EPO's network of patent information centres. There are over 300 centres spread regionally across the EPO's member states. PATLIB centres provide access to patent information and guidance on other intellectual property rights and related services. These can include technology and competitor watches, patent statistics, patent valuation/audits, advice on patent strategy, and guidance on commercialisation/technology transfer.
The two-day PATLIB seminar brought together some 20 African universities participating in the KT2A. During the seminar, President Campinos and Director General Twebaze led a roundtable discussion on the future implementation of the Knowledge Transfer to Africa initiative. The event provided an excellent platform in which to exchange and report on the activities under the KT2A which is currently running under Proof of Concept (PoC), and to discuss its future development.
The seminar concluded with presentations by PATLIB experts in a hybrid format who outlined the success factors required for an efficient and effective technology transfer from universities.
The benefits of the KT2A initiative were brought to light under the PoC and in order for it to evolve and grow, the involvement of more universities is required. These will be selected by the African national patent offices, ARIPO and OAPI, and some individual countries. In addition, the seminar proved to be an ideal environment in which to discuss the experience, and best practices gained under the PoC while setting out a shared vision and expectations for the future of this exciting initiative.