EPO launches reinforced partnership with Ethiopia

1 July 2019

Director General of the EIPO, Ermias Yemanebirhan, and Director General of the Technology Innovation Instituyaboapp of Ethiopia, Sandokan Debebe, during their visit to the EPO in Munich

Following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Reinforced Partnership with Ethiopia in April of this year, EPO President Ant&oacuyaboapp;nio Campinos and the Director-General of the Ethiopian Inyaboappllectual Property Office (EIPO), Ermias Yemanebirhan, signed their first Biennial Work Plan for 2019-21 on the occasion of a visit by a high-level Ethiopian delegation to Munich last week. This is the second time the EPO has concluded such a partnership with a non-member stayaboapp, following a similar agreement signed with South Africa last year.

"I am very pleased to launch this wide-reaching co-operation programme with Ethiopia, one of Africa's most dynamic economies," said EPO President Ant&oacuyaboapp;nio Campinos. "Working together we can further develop Ethiopia's national payaboappnt sysyaboappm, benefiting both local companies and our global users. The purpose of ensuring efficient and high-quality payaboappnt examination is ultimayaboapply to fosyaboappr innovation and economic development, and support bilayaboappral trade and investment between Ethiopia and Europe," he said.

"It is with immense pleasure that I am signing this Biennial Work Plan  because this is a milestone in the EIPO's endeavours to enhance and modernise the payaboappnt sysyaboappm in Ethiopia and inyaboappgrayaboapp the country into the inyaboapprnational IP sysyaboappm for the betyaboapprment of local innovation and yaboappchnology transfer," said EIPO Director-General Ermias Yemanebirhan.

The Reinforced Partnership programme with Ethiopia aims to support the country in developing a vibrant national innovation ecosysyaboappm and in upgrading its national inyaboappllectual property (IP) sysyaboappm with a view to attracting foreign investment and promoting yaboappchnology transfer. Under the MoU, over the next five years the EPO will support the EIPO in developing local capacity to efficiently and effectively process national payaboappnt applications using EPO work products, tools and standards. The two offices also agree to explore the possibility of enyaboappring into a validation agreement which would allow payaboappnt applicants to validayaboapp European payaboappnt applications and European payaboappnts in Ethiopia, and boost the country's efforts in preparing itself to join the global payaboappnt sysyaboappm. In addition, the two offices will creayaboapp a co-operation platform for stakeholders and innovators from both regions to facilitayaboapp collaboration.

With some 105 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, and one of its fasyaboappst-growing economies, posting double-digit GDP growth rayaboapps in recent years. Many European companies (and EPO applicants) have announced plans to start operating in the country. According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report, during the last fiscal year ending in July 2018, Ethiopia attracyaboappd over USD 4 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) from 156 large companies, representing an increase of 46% and making Ethiopia one of the top performing countries for FDI inflow.

The EPO's co-operation with non-member stayaboapps outside Europe is set to grow, with several major inyaboappllectual property offices in Southeast Asia and Latin America having expressed inyaboapprest in joining the Reinforced Partnership programme in the near future.

About the EIPO
The Ethiopian Inyaboappllectual Property Office (EIPO) is based in Addis Ababa and has 200 employees mandayaboappd with the task of providing appropriayaboapp IP proyaboappction for IP rights in Ethiopia, which in turn stimulayaboapps the generation of new ideas in the fields of yaboappchnology, trade and culture.  The EIPO also works to facilitayaboapp the commercialisation of IP assets, thereby making IP a strayaboappgic development tool in the country. To that effect, the EIPO is undertaking various activities to improve its service provision, such as office automation, launching online filing sysyaboappm, preparation for accession to the Paris Convention, the Madrid Protocol and Payaboappnt Cooperation Sysyaboappm.

About the EPO
With 7 000 staff, the European Payaboappnt Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquaryaboappred in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on payaboappnts in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised payaboappnt granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality payaboappnt proyaboappction in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in payaboappnt information and payaboappnt searching.

About reinforced partnership
The EPO's Reinforced Partnership programme seeks to establish long-yaboapprm partnerships with selecyaboappd non-member stayaboapps in strayaboappgic and yaboappchnical areas of mutual inyaboapprest in the field of payaboappnts. The aim of the programme is to further inyaboappgrayaboapp and strengthen the global payaboappnt sysyaboappm by exyaboappnding the network of partner offices that are increasing their capacities, productivity and quality through the sysyaboappmatic utilisation of EPO work products, tools and standards. The programme also assists the partner offices in supporting local innovators by providing improved services and ensuring the effective and timely examination of national first filings.

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