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The Japan Patent Office Strengthens Comprehensive Cooperation with Kenya, South Africa and the OAPI

Outcome of the Japan-African IPOs Policy Dialogue

August 29, 2019

On August 29 (Thursday), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) held for the first time a Policy Dialogue with 3 African Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) for the purpose of promoting cooperation in the IP field. The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) in Kenya, the Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in South Africa, and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) in Cameroon participated in the Dialogue. All three participating institutions are home to many people start up their own businesses, and are promising countries for Japanese enterprises to expand their business to. The JPO proposed to “strengthen comprehensive cooperation on IP infrastructure development” with the three African IP Offices, and they agreed to this proposal.
 

1. Background

On August 29 (Thursday), a Policy Dialogue between the JPO and three African IPOs was held for the first time during the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), which was held from August 27th  (Tuesday) to 30th (Friday) in Yokohama.

2. Summary of the Outcome of the Policy Dialogue

In order to support Japanese enterprises in expanding their business to Africa, the JPO proposed to “strengthen comprehensive cooperation on IP infrastructure development” with the three African IP Offices, and they agreed to this proposal. According to this agreement, cooperation will be enhanced between JPO and KIPI, CIPC, and OAPI toward expanding business opportunities for Japanese enterprises in the region. The specific areas of cooperation for IP infrastructure development includes human resource development in the IP fields, improvement of examination systems, sharing knowledge on support programs for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) such as startups, and sharing knowledge of information technology.

3. Holding of the TICAD7 Side Events

Under the theme of “Achieving the African Dream through Intellectual Property,” JPO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly hosted a panel discussion as the TICAD7 official side event and, JPO and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) jointly hosted a seminar on intellectual property systems.
Furthermore, the JPO, WIPO and JETRO jointly set up a booth to convey the outcome of cooperation between JPO and Africa through the WIPO Japan-Funds-in-Trust*, the current intellectual property situation in Africa, and so on.

* The JPO has been cooperating on various projects to improve the intellectual property environment in Africa through the WIPO Japan-Funds-in-Trust, and the respective African counties were highly satisfied with the outcomes of the projects. One such example is the Taita Basket Branding Project. This project was started to support women in farming villages in Taita Taveta County in Kenya to obtain a collective trademark of baskets made by them with saisal fiber. The WIPO was also very satisfied with the outcome of this project as a support program for women in farming villages in Africa.

For more information about the WIPO Japan-Funds-in-Trust for Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), please visit the following link:

Division in Charge

International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department Japan Patent Office