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19 December 2022

On 2 December 2022, President
Campinos began his mission to Africa, which included visits to South
Africa, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

first part of the mission included a visit to the Companies and Intellectual
Property Commission (CIPC, the IP office of South Africa) where the President
held a bilateral meeting with the CIPC Commissioner Adv. Rory Voller, after
which the respective office heads signed the new 2022-2024 Biennial Work Plan.
Under the new plan, the EPO will continue to support the CIPC in building
capacity in search and examinations to transition from the current depository
system to one where patent applications are progressively examined
substantively, if possible, based on previously issued EPO work products.

President also had the opportunity to meet with the South African institute of
patent attorneys who have an active participation in the Experiential Learning
Programme on the substantive search and examination process established with
the support of the EPO. The President thanked them for their contribution
towards building a sustainable and robust patent system that will provide legal
certainty for users. 

6 December, the President travelled to Zimbabwe and took part in a bilateral
meeting with the ARIPO DG, Mr Bemanye Twebaze, where they shared updates on the
latest developments within their respective offices and discussed new areas of
co-operation. The President and the DG provided the opening remarks at the
PATLIB Seminar jointly organised with ARIPO and co-sponsored by the EU-funded
co-operation project AfrIPI. The Heads also participated in a roundtable
discussion on the Knowledge Transfer to Africa (KT2A), an initiative launched
by the EPO in support to the participating universities.

final leg of the President’s mission was dedicated to the 62nd
regular session of the OAPI Administrative Council held in Douala, Cameroon, on
8 December 2022. The President took the floor in the opening ceremony, which followed
on from discussions earlier this year, where the President and OAPI DG agreed
that the President would address the AC in person on the proposed Validation
Agreement with the EPO. The President underlined the value that the Validation
Agreement holds for users, the OAPI, and the OAPI Member States. President
Campinos also had the opportunity to meet with other members of the AC and
Ministers of Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea to discuss capacity-building
initiatives on IP in these Lusophone countries in the region.

Overall, the mission to Africa was a
great success, with the EPO building upon already solid ties with our African
partners, and forging new paths based on cooperation, now, and into the future.