Research Paper 56, November 2014

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Protocol on Patents: Implications for Access to Medicines

This paper was commissioned to better understand the workings of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (commonly known as “ARIPO”) with regard to its Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs and to examine the effect of implementation of the Protocol (Section on Patents) on the promotion of access to affordable medicines.

Presently the Protocol has 18 Contracting Parties, the majority of which are Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Pursuant to the Protocol, the ARIPO Office receives and processes patent applications and administers patent grants on behalf of its Contracting Parties. In its examination, the paper was to especially focus on the extent to which the Protocol is supportive of the objectives and recommendations of the East African Community Regional Intellectual Policy on the Utilization of Public Health Related WTO-TRIPS Flexibilities. It was also the aim to identify practical recommendations and mechanisms (including an alert mechanism) to minimize adverse effects on access to affordable medicines.

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