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Battistelli’s Club Med at the EPO – Part IV: The Angolan Patent Office (IAPI) Seems Almost Defunct

Posted in Africa, Europe, Patents at 10:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Angola and the Portuguese “laundromat” explained further

IAPI domain

Summary: IAPI, the Angolan authority in charge of patents, turns out to be what we in the UK call “dodgy as Hell” (or worse words than “Hell”)

THE EPO is getting closer to Angola (see part 1) — a country which António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli are connected to (see part 2). Angola is widely known for corruption (see part 3) and today we wish to expand on that, offer some more links, and tie things together with an explanation that relates to the later/future parts (where EPO is revisited).

“From these reports it seems clear that very little moves in the Angolan economy without the clique around the Dos Santos family claiming a slice of the action.”For further information, in case the previous parts were not already read, see parts 2 and 3 in particular. In parts 6 and 7 we shall deal again with António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli. The relevance will become more obvious.

Over the last few years, Forbes has published a number of interesting reports about corruption in Angola. Several different writers in there covered it in 2013, 2014 [1, 2], and 2016. This article is a month old.

“What kind of government office uses a Microsoft Hotmail account in 2017?”From these reports it seems clear that very little moves in the Angolan economy without the clique around the Dos Santos family claiming a slice of the action. Unfortunately, there is no information available about how well (or not) the system of intellectual property protection functions in Angola.

The official website of the IAPI seems to be permanently down. To make matters worse, when we last checked the site it looked like a hijacked (squatted) .gov domain. “Thank you for visiting the Bargain Auto Finance webpa:e” [sic] is what the page says. It goes on: “Bargain Auto Finance was established because of a love for cars and a desire to give the consumer a peace of mind buying experience. Our team of fully qualified Finance and Insurance Managers will negotiate terms on your behalf giving you a secure process. Bargain Auto Finance offer a variety of financing or refinancing options.”

Sounds like one of these notorious scams. What does that do in iapi.gov.ao? It’s definitely not some very temporary mistake or accident. It has been like this for a number of days (at least, based on our checks over the past week).

“There is no website listed in the WIPO database entry for Angola,” a reader told us. That’s true. “The “Bargain Auto Finance” website seems to belong to a South African company,” the reader noted (bargainfinance.co.za), so something very dodgy is definitely going on here. “The e-mail address for the Angolan Intellectual Property Institute listed in the WIPO database entry is a hotmail.com address. Also the WIPO entry seems to be out of date because the current Director of the IAPI is Mr Dário Camati,” the reader concluded. WIPO says: “Title and name of head; Director General: Ms. Ana Paula da Costa Pereira Migel (E-mail address paulabolivar8@hotmail.com).”

“It could be interesting to find out more about how the proposed “validation agreement” with the EPO is going to operate.”What kind of government office uses a Microsoft Hotmail account in 2017? And with account name/alias paulabolivar8? “No idea what is going on here,” our reader said.

Their Facebook page seems to be completely empty. Not that a government office should be operating through Facebook either way…

It could be interesting to find out more about how the proposed “validation agreement” with the EPO is going to operate.

These “validation agreements” typically involve the payment of an initial validation fee of a few hundred Euros to the EPO. The initial fee is shared out between the EPO and the national IP Office of the validation state based on a proportion set down in the validation agreement.

“Given what is generally known about the rampant levels of corruption in Angola, it would not be surprising if foreign investors encountered a system of patent protection that was not very effective at safeguarding their rights or that some additional “financial incentives” would be required in order to get a result in their favour.”Thereafter the patent proprietor pays annual renewal fees to the national IP Office of the validation state based on the amounts laid down under national law.

Depending on the level of uptake, such a scheme could could potentially generate a handy revenue stream for the Angolan government. It would be interesting to follow the subsequent money trail and see how much of that would be likely to end up in the pockets of the ruling clique.

Another issue confronting foreign patent proprietors opting for validation in Angola would be the question of how effective the system of patent protection is and whether or not patent proprietors can actually enforce their rights, for example via the courts.

Given what is generally known about the rampant levels of corruption in Angola, it would not be surprising if foreign investors encountered a system of patent protection that was not very effective at safeguarding their rights or that some additional “financial incentives” would be required in order to get a result in their favour.

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