Africa Updates 2020 – Angola

Encouraging Developments at the Registry

In October 2019, Adams & Adams partners, Nicky Garnett, Stephen Hollis and Elio Teixeira travelled to Luanda for a meeting with Anna Paula Bolivar, the Director General of the Instituto Angolana Propriedade Industrial (IAPI) as well as other senior registry officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss with IAPI concerns regarding the delays in processing patent applications in Angola and to obtain clarification on IAPI’s plans for legislative amendments and capacity building.

The visit was extremely useful and has already proved beneficial as we have seen a number of patents proceeding to grant. This is a significant step forward as not a single patent was granted by IAPI in the period 2010-2018. In addition, there have been definite improvements in the frequency of publication of patent applications in the months following our visit and some patents (which has been previously been overlooked) have now been published paving the way for these applications to proceed to grant in the near future.

Ms Bolivar has been the Director General of IAPI since 2014 and has embarked on a program of recruiting and training additional registry staff to improve the ability of the office to deal with incoming matters as well as the backlog of cases Stephen Hollis and Nicky Garnett (Adams & Adams partners) at the Registry Offices which she inherited. The publication and issuance of trade mark certificates and processing of trade mark oppositions have improved dramatically. That said, there are still delays in the processing of trade mark recordals in Angola and patent searches are problematic. Whilst the World Bank is assisting IAPI with the digitisation of their records, this is an ongoing project which is subject to severe capacity constraints.

We are encouraged by the willingness of Ms Bolivar and her team at IAPI to meet with stakeholders and look forward to seeing continuous improvements with the handling of our cases in Angola.

Jacinto Ucuahamba, Adams & Adams Angola, Nicky Garnett, Ms Ana Paula Boliva (Registrar) and Stephen Hollis (extreme right) with senior Registry staff

Stephen Hollis and Nicky Garnett (Adams & Adams partners) at the Registry Offices

KEY OPPORTUNITIES & CONCERNS

Opportunities:

  • Angola remains Africa’s second largest oil producer
  • Government is serious about diversifying the economy away from the energy sector, and is opening investment opportunities
  • Angola is well-positioned to produce entertainment and media content for Portuguese-speaking Africa
    By 2050, Africa will be home to the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking population, surpassing Brazil

Concerns:

  • President João Lourenço’s dismembering of the old dos Santos corruption machine is underway but is encountering resistance from the country’s corrupt elite
  • Urban social services are poor and poverty is widespread in rural areas
  • Agriculture employs over eight out of ten workers but contributes little to GDP due to antiquated practices and a small value added food industry

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