Thursday, 5 December 2013

ARIPO approvals! And plant breeders have something to cheer, or not

It's all happening here
Nthabi Phaswana and Nicky Garnett from Adams & Adams provide the following report on the 37th Session Administrative Council meeting of ARIPO held in Kampala, Uganda recently.

"The waiting is over; the ARIPO Administrative Council has finally approved the proposed amendments of the Harare and Banjul protocols. 

The approved amendments include:

Patents:
·         Provision regarding unity of inventions, the filing of divisional applications, filing of amendments, filing of applications electronically. Clarification regarding the definition of novelty, industrial applicability and inventiveness.

Annuities:

·         Deletion of Rule 21 (3) to remove the obligation of ARIPO to remind applicant or the owner of the patent to renew the patent or patent application at least one month prior to the date in which an annual maintenance fee shall fall due.

Trademarks:

·         All ARIPO trademark applications will recognise the latest edition of the Nice Classification.
·         The time limit for conducting substantive examination by the member states will be reduced from 12 months to 9 months.


Few things to note for future developments:
·         ARIPO is considering acceding to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs.  Sao Tome and Principe became the new observer state."



     Other feedback from the meeting include this summary from ARIPO and this post by the Food Sovereignty Group Ghana. Their group is not quite so positive describing the meeting as "great disappointment". This is because they claim to have been ignored during the discussion on plant breeder protection. ARIPO is constructing a draft legal framework on plant variety rights. ARIPO's summary states that geographical indications, TK and a five year development plan were also discussed at the meeting.

Meantime, further west in Nairobi (Kenya) an African Plant Breeder Academy has opened doors. This is the initiative of researchers from the University of California and the African Orphan Crops Consortium. You can read more about this, here

"The academy located at the World Agroforestry Centre in Gigiri plans to sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes of 100 traditional African food crops to guide development of vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products that are more robust and nutritious."

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