ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation) with a central registry in Harare, Zimbabwe facilitates the filing of patents, designs and trademarks.


The member countries in ARIPO are: Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania (Tanganyika). 

An ARIPO application may cover any number of classes of goods or services; and may designate all or some of the above states.  


1. An applicant wishing to obtain an ARIPO trademark registration must file an application form (Form M1) with the ARIPO Office in Harare. A Power of Attorney and the prescribed fees must also be filed but do not need to be filed simultaneously. The fees can be paid within 21 days and the power of attorney must be lodged within 2 months.

2. Applicants whose place of business or ordinary residence is not in a contracting state must be represented. Representation shall be by an agent who is authorized to represent applicants before the national office of a designated state.

3. Applications can also be filed through the national offices of the designated states that will then transmit the application to the ARIPO Office in Harare.

4. ARIPO will transmit the application to the Industrial Property Offices of the designated states for examination. The designated states have a fixed period of 12 months to examine the applications and to advise the ARIPO Office of any objections to registration.

5. If no response is received from any designated state, the mark will proceed to be advertised in the ARIPO Journal (published quarterly) and registered in that state.

6. If a state objects, then it is necessary to make representations to overcome the objections and to secure acceptance.

7. Assuming that there have been no fatal objections by any of the designated states, the application will be advertised in the ARIPO Journal. The ARIPO Journal is supposed to be published quarterly but there are significant delays in its publication. It is possible to file opposition to an ARIPO application at any time after publication and before registration of the mark.

8. After publication, the applicant must make payment of the registration fees to ARIPO. Thereafter there is usually a delay of about 1 year before the certificate is issued by ARIPO.

9. Marks are valid for a period of ten years from the filing date and can be renewed for further 10 year periods upon payment of the prescribed fee.


As stated above the benefits of a centralized filing system to clients are obvious. The applicant has to deal only in one language (English), with one agent, and in one currency (US dollars). Furthermore, there is a centralized system for processing, grant, and renewal.


- The ARIPO system has not been well thought out. The Protocol and Regulations are inadequate and need to be amended.

- The twelve-month deadline for states to examine applications is unrealistic. Most of the designated states do not respond to applications either within the twelve-month deadline or at all. In most cases, therefore, it seems that registration is obtained not on merit by default.

- The Protocol allows for registration in all classes but the registration is subject to the national laws of each designated state. This gives rise to anomalies i.e. Malawi does not allow for the registration of service marks but the Protocol does.

- Most importantly, however, is that none of the designated states (except Zimbabwe) have yet enacted any legislation to incorporate the provisions of the Banjul Protocol into their national legislation. The effectiveness of ARIPO registrations is therefore in doubt.

- The amendments to the ARIPO Tariff (effective May 2000) whereby charges are calculated on the number of states designated drastically increased the fees for using the ARIPO system and reduced the attractiveness of ARIPO as a cost-effective method of obtaining protection in all 6 designated states.

Note: Currently there are 8 states that have acceded to the Banjul Protocol and which can therefore be designated in an application. These are: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.



TAGI-UNI Building 104 Mecca Street, Um-Uthaina, Amman, Jordan

P.O. Box: 921100, Amman 11192, Jordan
Telephone: (00 962-6) 5 100 900
Fax: (00 962-6) 5 100 901
Contact: Hanan Elayyan (Miss)


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