In late September 2012, a commission of the African Union (AU) published the final draft text of a statute to establish a new Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). The publication of the draft is the culmination of a process that began in 2007, which included consultations with AU Member States, regional IP offices, and collective management organizations, and the active participation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
PAIPO is designed to complement and supplement two pre-existing regional organizations (the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI)). The draft text sets out PAIPO’s objectives, which include:
- Promoting the harmonization of the intellectual property rights systems of the AU Member States;
- Initiating activities designed to help Member States use their IP systems to effectively fight IP piracy and counterfeits;
- Developing African common positions on IP matters — and in particular developing common positions on IP issues relating to genetic resources, traditional knowledge, geographic indicators, expressions of folklore and the Convention on Biological Diversity; and
- Helping to develop and lead African IP positions in international IP negotiations.