In view of the implementation of the substantive examination of patent and utility model applications scheduled for January 2022, the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) plans, among other things, to strengthen the capacities and to train the patent examiners in order to guarantee a better quality of the examination of applications and titles granted. To this end, the Organisation has requested the support of the AFRIPI project for the recruitment and payment of training experts and a two-week study tour to the European Patent Office.
The aim is to train five (5) OAPI examiners on specific modules related to substantive examination of patents, to refine their search techniques in patent databases and in non-patent technical and scientific literature, and to provide a study tour to an Office practicing substantive examination to strengthen their practical capacity. It will be necessary to review or introduce the relevant theoretical concepts and more importantly, to teach OAPI examiners how to write search reports and opinions on real cases.
OAPI intends to take the necessary time for this training, so that its examiners have a solid competence before the procedure comes into force. It seems reasonable to take 6 months for Module A and 6 months for Module B. The duration of the training will be re-evaluated as the procedure progresses.
The European Patent Office has provided support in drafting the training modules and providing experts for the training. AFRIPI will have to finance the study trip for the five examiners in 2022.
The training started on 2 August 2021 for one week and will resume on 11 October. This training will last until the last quarter of 2022, which suggests that the official introduction of the new patent examination procedure at OAPI will be postponed until early 2023.