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

Ethiopia Enters into Reinforced Partnership with European Patent Office

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) has renewed its partnership with the European Patent Office (EPO) with the signing of their first biennial Work Plan for 2019-21.

The document was signed by the president of EPO António Campinos and Director-General of EIPO Ermias Yemanebirhan, on the occasion of a visit by a high-level Ethiopian delegation to Munich last week, announced EPO.

The signing of the biennial work plan follows a signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Reinforced Partnership between the two in April of this year.

This is the second time the EPO has concluded such a partnership with a non-member state, following a similar agreement signed with South Africa last year.

“I am very pleased to launch this wide-reaching co-operation program with Ethiopia, one of Africa’s most dynamic economies,” said EPO President António.

“Working together we can further develop Ethiopia’s national patent system, benefiting both local companies and our global users,” he continued. “The purpose of ensuring efficient and high-quality patent examination is ultimately to foster innovation and economic development, and support bilateral trade and investment between Ethiopia and Europe.”

EIPO Director-General Ermias, on his part, described the singing of the Biennial Work Plan as a milestone in the EIPO’s endeavors to enhance and modernize the patent system in Ethiopia”.

It will also help to integrate Ethiopia “into the international IP system for the betterment of local innovation and technology transfer” Ermias added.

The Reinforced Partnership program with Ethiopia aims to support the country in developing a vibrant national innovation ecosystem and in upgrading its national intellectual property (IP) system with a view to attracting foreign investment and promoting technology transfer.

Under the MoU and over the next five years, the EPO will support the EIPO in developing local capacity to efficiently and effectively process national patent applications using EPO work products, tools, and standards.

The two offices also agree to explore the possibility of entering into a validation agreement which would allow patent applicants to validate European patent applications and European patents in Ethiopia, and boost the country’s efforts in preparing itself to join the global patent system.

In addition, the two offices will create a co-operation platform for stakeholders and innovators from both regions to facilitate collaboration.