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Call for abstracts: High-Level Workshop on Intellectual Property Technical Assistance and Development in Africa will take place in August

The Workshop will be organised within the Framework of the Research Council of Finland project “Technical Assistance as an Enabler of the Constitutionalization of Intellectual Property Norms in Africa” (TACIP 2022—2027)

The event will take place in the Faculty of Law, University of Turku, 15—16 August 2024

Concept Paper

This two-day high-level workshop will bring together leading academics in the field of intellectual property, the Director Generals of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), along with some senior management team members and other regional and national stakeholders from Africa. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss whether the technical assistance provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the establishment of modern intellectual property laws and services in Africa have contributed to economic development in African countries.

Intellectual Property Technical Assistance (IPTA) has been around for some time, but it gained more attention after World War II when several colonies became independent. The United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI), which was the predecessor of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), was responsible for providing technical assistance to the newly independent states of the Global South. This was done to integrate these states into the international intellectual property system and to promote their economic development. WIPO was founded with the mandate to continue providing technical assistance.

In Africa, WIPO played a significant role in the establishment and support of two major regional intellectual property organizations – OAPI and ARIPO. Today, these organizations have become self-sufficient, independent, and modernized, providing various services to their clients and member states in the field of intellectual property. On the surface, it may seem that WIPO’s efforts to integrate African countries into the international intellectual property system have been successful. However, the question of whether technical assistance from WIPO and the implementation of modern intellectual property laws and services have resulted in economic development in African countries remains unanswered.

This workshop will explore various topics, including:

  • To what extent has technical assistance from the WIPO helped shape the intellectual property laws
    of OAPI, ARIPO, and their member states?
  • Has the economic development of OAPI and ARIPO member states been impacted by these laws?
  • Does OAPI and ARIPO offer technical assistance to their members in the areas of traditional
    knowledge, genetic resources, and geographical indications?
  • Are there any unique technical assistance or capacity-building needs in Africa?
  • What are the most urgent problems faced by courts, administrative or advisory bodies?
  • What other roles and tasks should be considered so that creativity and innovation can flourish in

Please submit your abstract to abopac@utu.fi by 30th April 2024.
Dr Daniel Acquah
Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law
Academy Research Fellow (TACIP 2022–2027)
University of Turku