New expedited/delayed examination provisions in ARIPO

Effective from 1 January 2018, expedited/delayed examination may be requested for ARIPO applications. ARIPO (The Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization) has adopted new amendments to the Harare Protocol and its regulations, which may prove useful to applicants.

The new amendments relate to Rule 18, which gives effect to section 3(3) of the Protocol and deals with substantive examination of patents. On 1 January 2017, ARIPO introduced a new procedural step requiring an applicant to request substantive examination of patent applications which had, up to that point, been examined automatically. This means that substantive examination of patent applications must be requested within three years of the filing date of the patent application, otherwise the application will lapse. A new Rule 18(7) enables an applicant to request expedited/delayed examination of any application.

The following requirements must be met before a request for expedited/delayed examination will be considered by the ARIPO office:

A request for expedited examination may be filed at the ARIPO Office, provided:

  • a request for substantive examination has been filed;
  • the application relates to a single invention and/or the applicant agrees to the examining division only considering the first identified invention;
  • the applicant agrees to respond immediately to any clarifications sought by the examining division;
  • the application does not become abandoned and reinstated before the conclusion of the examination; and
  • a search report is provided based on claims corresponding to the claims of the ARIPO application and which is either of the same scope or narrower in scope than the claims in the ARIPO application.

A request for delayed examination may be filed at the ARIPO Office, provided:

  • a request for substantive examination has been filed;
  • a written explanation providing the reason behind the request is submitted with the request; and
  • the application does not lapse due to non-payment of formalities.

KISCH IP’s experienced attorneys specialize in the preparation and prosecution of ARIPO applications and are qualified to provide technical advice and expertise unique to each application.