Following discussions between the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), ARIPO has implemented a bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program in partnership with CNIPA. 

The program enables an applicant who has received a positive outcome on patent claims from one participating office to request expedited examination of corresponding claims in another participating office. This allows the applicant to obtain a patentability decision in the second office more quickly. 

The Program promotes patent application processing efficiency by allowing the examiner in the office of later examination to consider search and examination results from the office of earlier examination, thereby reducing workload and duplication of effort. The Program allows an application whose claims have been determined to be patentable by CNIPA or ARIPO as the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE) to undergo an accelerated examination at ARIPO or CNIPA as Office of Later Examination (OLE) upon request from an applicant, provided that the requirements outlined in the procedures are fulfilled. 

Request to ARIPO

An applicant has to submit a request for accelerated examination under the Program to ARIPO in English on Form13B accompanied by all relevant supporting documents. The request for accelerated examination under the Program must also include or be preceded by a request for substantive examination.

ARIPO will treat a request for accelerated examination under the Program as a request for expedited/accelerated examination under the Harare Protocol. Examination of ARIPO patent applications that satisfy the requirements for accelerated examination under the Program will take into account the work performed previously by the CNIPA. ARIPO patent applications under the Program will be examined in accordance with the Harare Protocol, the Implementing Regulation, and the Guidelines for Examination.

The Program shall be for a trial period of five (5) years from 8th June 2024 to 7th June 2029. ARIPO and CNIPA may extend the pilot period if necessary. 

Guidance on submitting ARIPO - CNIPA PPH Request