By Wallace Mawire
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) will on 10 November, 2021 host the regional conference on geographical indications for ARIPO member countries in Harare, Zimbabwe.
According to an ARIPO spokesperson, the regional Conference organized by ARIPO is being held in collaboration with Africa Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation Project (AfrIPI), an European Union (EU) funded project implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
It is reported that the objective of the Conference is to define a strategy amongst the ARIPO Member States with regards to setting up a Geographical Indication (GI) legal framework on a regional or national level.
The Conference will be officially opened by the Zimbabwe Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi whose keynote speech will be on the importance of differentiation of products for the national and regional market.
Other speakers will include the European Union Ambassador, Mr. Timo Olkkonen, the AfrIPI Project Leader, Mr. Dennis Scheirs, and the ARIPO Director General, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze.
“Geographical indications” (“GIs”) are defined in Article 22(1) of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 1995 Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”
The Conference will demonstrate the importance of GIs for the national and regional markets. It will also serve as a platform to discuss assets of a common system of protection, looking at the EU and African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) regional system of registration. The workshop will also discuss the best practices with national laws on GIs, challenges with the adoption of a regional framework on GIs for ARIPO countries, and the assessment of needs regarding GIs in the ARIPO region. One of the discussion topics will be on the protection of the name “Kariba bream” as a GI from Zimbabwe.
A total of 75 participants from the ARIPO Member States are expected to take part in the Conference. The 21 ARIPO Member States are Botswana, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, The Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.