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Judges Conference in Abidjan to enforce IP rights in Africa

On 20 and 21 October, AfrIPI,goo in partnership with the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), hosted a judges’ seminar in Abidjan on the enforcement of Intellectual Property (IP) in the OAPI judicial area. Judges from 17 Member States met in Abidjan to discuss specific IP issues and compare different national solutions.

Even though there is no specialised jurisdiction on IP, the expertise of judges in this area is becoming progressively more important in the African continent. By reinforcing IP in the judicial area, companies can feel reassured of their IP rights and increase their IP activity. This is because companies protecting their IP produce generally more benefits, are more competitive and are able to better remunerate their employees.

During the two-day conference, judges discussed and compared the different tools used by the Member States that help them increase knowledge and coherence in their different IP related decisions.

After sharing their experience for two days, the judges committed to starting a regional forum that will coordinate efforts to contribute to the AfrIPI case-law database and encourage peer support across national jurisdictions. The 30 judges also recommended the creation of a regional supreme court to serve as a court of last instance to hear IP conflict matters in OAPI countries under the terms of the Bangui Agreement. The seminar, which is the first of its kind bringing together judges from OAPI countries, has also seen the participation of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice of Djibouti, a non-OAPI country.

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