The two-day presential Workshop on Designs and Utility Models for the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) member states was held at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, Zimbabwe on 27 and 28 April 2022.
At least 80 participants from the ARIPO member states and observer states (including Angola and South Africa) attended the workshop. The participants represented national IP offices, universities and research and development institutions.
The Director-General of ARIPO Mr Bemanya Twebaze, the Representative of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe Mrs Lourdes Chamorro, and the team leader of AfrIPI Mr Dennis Scheirs made opening remarks at the beginning of the workshop.
The workshop focused on innovation in the ARIPO member states in general, specifically focusing on innovations pertaining to industrial designs and utility models. The aim was to establish why, despite increasing levels of innovation in the ARIPO member states, only a few innovators register industrial designs and utility models. The workshop aligned with ARIPO’s mission of ‘fostering creativity and innovation for socio-economic growth of the Member States through an effective Intellectual Property System’.
During the workshop, ARIPO examiners explained the requirements and procedures that apply to the registration of industrial designs and utility models under the ARIPO registration system.
Speakers from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe made insightful presentations on the opportunities and challenges that enable or limit innovation in the ARIPO Member States. Lillian Mbayiwa, the Group Head of Marketing and Innovation of Old Mutual Zimbabwe Limited, gave a case study on her company’s Eight2Five Innovation Hub. She showed how corporates could actively engage with young innovators and provide them with an environment that fosters innovation.
The workshop ended on a high note with a tour of the Eight2Five Innovation Hub in the central business district in Harare.