The Namibian Industrial Property Act of 2012, which came into effect on 1 August 2018, introduced substantive examination of patent applications in Namibia.
On 10 June 2022, at the Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Conference held in Ezulwini in the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ARIPO regarding the substantive search and examination of patent applications filed in Namibia. The MoU provides that ARIPO shall conduct substantive examination for and on behalf of BIPA, which is tasked with administering intellectual property matters in Namibia.
This MoU basically formalises the arrangement which has in fact been in practice since the Act came into operation in 2018.
Most African countries receive and process very few patent applications at a national level. As such many ARIPO member states (but not all) lack the capacity to conduct substantive examination for applications filed at their national IP offices. ARIPO, on the other hand, has done well to cultivate a seasoned team of patent examiners, most of whom are nationals of the ARIPO member states.
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