The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) comprises a number of (primarily English-speaking) countries and offers protection for a number of intellectual property rights including patents, industrial designs and trade marks.

The ARIPO treaty relating to plant varieties is the Arusha Protocol on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the Arusha Protocol) of 6 July 2015. In the words of a recent ARIPO announcement, the Arusha Protocol is intended to ‘implement an effective regional system that will allow farmers access to a wide range of improved varieties to contribute to attaining the regional goal of economic development and food security.’

The Arusha Protocol was adopted at a conference on 6 July 2015, where it was signed by four ARIPO member states, namely the Republic of São Tomé e Príncipe (São Tomé), The Gambia, Ghana and Mozambique – Tanzania subsequently signed it on 28 September 2018.

São Tomé has now ratified the Arusha Protocol, having deposited its instrument of ratification on 29 September 2020. São Tomé is the second ARIPO member to ratify the Arusha Protocol, with Rwanda having done so in June 2019. Article 40(3) of the Arusha Protocol provides that it will come into force 12 months after the deposit of instruments of ratification by four member states.

We will report on further ratifications as and when they happen.

Contact us for further information.