Will Next Director General of ARIPO Be From Kenya?

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), through its official website, is inviting applications from suitable qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the post of Director General of the Organization. The closing date for applications is 31 May 2012.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization – ARIPO, formerly African Regional Industrial Property Organization, is an intergovernmental organization for cooperation among African states in patent and other industrial property matters. It has the capacity to hear applications for patents and registered trademarks in its member states who are parties to the Harare (patents) and Banjul (marks) protocols.

ARIPO’s 18 member states are mostly English-speaking countries.

ARIPO Members countries are: Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ARIPO Observer countries are: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia.

IPKenya believes the time is ripe for a Kenyan national to be appointed as ARIPO DG and is wondering whether any Kenyan IP professionals have considered applying for this post.

IPKenya has attempted to reconstruct a timeline of past Director Generals of ARIPO complete with biographical details:

Jeremiah H. Ntabgoba (Uganda)

Mr. Ntabgoba was the first ARIPO DG and served for two four year mandates between 1981-1988.

Previously Mr. Ntabgoba served in Uganda as a State Attorney (1966-1968), Senior State Attorney (1968-1973), Principal State Attorney (1971-1973), Administrator General / Registrar General / Public Trustee / Official Receiver (1973-1978) and High Court judge (1978–1981).
During this time, Mr. Ntabgoba also maintained strong links with academia as Professional Adviser to the Law Development Centre and External Examiner at Makerere University’s Law Faculty.

After serving as ARIPO DG, Jeremiah was the Principal Judge of the High Court of Uganda until 2004. Currently he is a Senior Consultant on intellectual property with a leading law practice in Kampala, Uganda.

Anderson R. Zikonda (Zambia)

Mr. Zikonda was the second ARIPO DG and held this position between 1989 – 1996.

Previously he was the First Zambian Registrar of Patents, Trademarks, Companies and Business Names for 10 years. He is an Advocate of High Court and Supreme Court of Zambia and Solicitor of Supreme Court of England and Wales. Mr. Zikonda is currently a Legal Practitioner and Law Lecturer at the University of Zambia Law School.

Mzondi Chirambo (Malawi)

Mr. Chirambo was the third ARIPO DG and held this position between 1997-2004.

He had previously served for close to a decade in Registrar General Department of Malawi’s Ministry of Justice. Currently, he runs his own private legal practice.

Gift H. Sibanda (Zimbabwe)

Mr. Sibanda is the current/outgoing ARIPO DG having served 2 consecutive terms in office.

Mr. Sibanda started off in Zimbabwe’s National Patent Office before joining ARIPO. When Mr. Zikonda was DG, Sibanda was Senior Industrial Property Officer.

In addition to ARIPO DG, Mr. Sibanda is currently a Member of the Advisory Board of the World Wide Academy; Executive Member of the Zimbabwe Standards Association (SAZ); Chairman of the Consultative Committee of WIPO, ARCT, OAPI and ARIPO and Member of OAPI/ARIPO Sub-Committee of the International Trademark Association (INTA).

Naturally, the next ARIPO DG will be an expert on industrial property matters and may well be appointed from within the Organization’s own staff. However, IPKenya hopes that nationals of Kenya will also apply and contest for this post.

For now, IPKenya awaits ARIPO to reveal the names of shortlisted candidates once applications and selections are done.

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