Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Afro-IP notes that Morocco is the only other African country on the TMView list which is dominated by Europe and North America, and includes Russia.
Although competitor search tool Saegis offers access to a greater number of trade mark records in Africa, it is not free, unlike TMView.
My own experience is that whilst the search tools are very quick and useful, in many African states a physical check of the actual register is still required to rely on the information, constraining users to unfortunately spend more time and money. This is changing slowly as more and more registries go online.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Two IP events relevant to Africa recently wandered onto this Little Leo’s hunting grounds. For those who have the inclination and ability to travel, these are worth checking out.
Next Monday, 27th October, the Uganda Christian University and Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) as a participant in the Open AIR project are presenting a public lecture on Intellectual Property and Innovation in Africa.
The program will feature world renowned experts and Open AIR researchers Dr. Jeremy de Beer and Dr. Chidi Oguamanam, both coming from the University of Ottawa in Canada. Both are also contributors to the Open AIR books Innovation & Intellectual Porperty: Collaborating Dynamics in Africa and Knowledge & Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future, which were released last December at the Open Air conference in Cape Town. (Afro-IP posts on the conference here.)
The lecture is from 2pm – 4pm Monday in lecture room (M3) at Uganda Christian University Mukono. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP with Ms. Primah Kwagala at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a book launch event the following day, 28 October at Protea Hotel Kampala from 9am – noon. Tickets for the book launch are available through Eventbrite.
WIPO, WHO and WTO are collaborating on a program covering Innovation and Access to Medical Technologies – Challenges and Opportunities for Middle-Income Countries on 5 November. This all-day event (8:30am – 5pm) will cover plenty of hot topics, including Ebola, trends in medical technologies, and challenges in ensuring access to medical technologies. Full pdf schedule here.
Since roughly half of the countries on the continent are classified as middle-income countries in some way (one list here), this program could be relevant to a number of Afro-IP readers. It’s also nice to see the big organizations collaborating together to discuss important issues. Registration is open until 3 November through the WTO site.
If any readers are able to attend either of these programs, we’d love to hear reports back about them.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Seychelles enacted a new Industrial Property Act about 6 months ago and it is now available for your perusal. It is not yet in effect, though, so don’t start relying on it yet. The new Act is available here in a delightfully nostalgic looking pdf. Not great for searching, but excellent for reminiscing about long hours in the library. For those more interested in usability than nostalgia, the version submitted to WIPO is searchable.
The Act covers Patents, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Integrated Circuits, Trademarks and Geographical Indications (combined in the same part), and Unfair Competition. The Act includes enforcement provisions for both civil and criminal enforcement. According to Inventa International, the new legislation is in preparation for Seychelles to join the WTO. The purpose of the act certainly seems in line with the purpose of IP purported by TRIPS:
AN ACT to provide for the adequate protection and enforcement of industrial property rights in order to encourage local inventive and innovative activities, stimulate transfer of technology, promote foreign direct investment, create competitive business environment, discourage unfair practices, enhance free and fair practice and thereby foster socio economic development and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Here’s a great opportunity. Many of the goals listed above are measureable. Since the Act is not yet in effect, we could get some baseline numbers for current foreign direct investment amounts and number of existing technology transfer projects and compare those down the road at the 5, 10, 20, etc. -year points after the 2014 Act goes into effect. Then we can analyze whether TRIPS-level IP laws really do increase all these things.
In the meantime, we’ll settle for covering some aspects of the new Act worth mentioning.
Plants, micro-organisms and natural substances are not patentable; neither are business methods. The Act follows the first to file rule, however applicants who have already applied for a patent in a WTO member country can receive right of priority (See Sect. 13). Patent terms are 20 years from date of filing and annual fees are due (yes, every year) to keep the patent valid.
The Act provides for compulsory patent licenses in the cases of public interest, non-practice (“insufficiently exploited in Seychelles…after a period of 4 years”), anti-competitive practices, abusive licensing, and needs of a subsequent patent. (Chapter 5.)
Industrial Design registrations are valid for 5 years with the possibility of 2 additional 5-year renewal terms. The same compulsory licensing provisions for patents apply to Industrial Designs. Changes in ownership must be registered in ordered to be enforced against third parties.
The Act provides for right of priority for trademark registrations, as with patents. Three-dimensional marks can be registered, and there’s provisions for what to do when the mark cannot be visually perceived, which suggests that sound and scent marks may be registerable. Trademark registrations are valid for an initial term of 10 years with renewals available at 7 year intervals.
Monday, 13 October 2014
This article summarises discussions by a panel addressing the relationship between intellectual property and innovation in Africa, in particular in the informal sector, which took place on the final day of the World Trade Organization Public Forum on 1 to 3 October.
Readers are invited to form their own opinions, in the unlikely event that they do not have their own already. This blogger's position is that it's not an either-or issue. Africa needs both a formal IP system and more technology capacity-building because each enriches the other. This blogger is also concerned at the ease with which Africa is at one moment treated as though it were a single homogenous and generally rather hopeless country and then, minutes later, described in terms of the vast diversity which makes it so impossible to generalise across its culturally, economically and politically separate regions.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Merging existing government divisions into a single new entity is a daunting task. New processes, new names, less faces, there’s a lot to consider. Musings of what if’s have been heard before, “what if we combined office x and office y?” Inventa International brings us news of just such a merger already complete. Cape Verde merged its Quality Management Institute and Intellectual Property Institute to form the (very merged sounding) Quality Management and Intellectual Property Institute (“IGQPI”). The new IGQPI will handle all intellectual property maters.
This little Leo is interested to see how this merger might play out on the international stage. The old Quality Management Institute was responsible for things outside of IP but definitely affected by it, such as energy sector development. With better integration between IP and development fields within the government, will Cape Verde discover a new balance between property rights and other rights? Will IGQPI be more aware than other Copyright, Industrial Property or IP offices about all aspects of the interplay between IP and Innovation? And if so, despite Cape Verde being a rather small country, will it be able to share its experiences with larger countries in the region and in international forums like WIPO?
Inventa International’s full release: http://www.inventa.com/news/cape_verde_new_institute_for_intellectual_property_and_quality_management_matters
The Strategy is informed by the following vision: 'The Mozambican government regards intellectual property as an instrument for stimulating and protecting creativity and innovation to promote the country’s economic, scientific, technological and cultural development'. Its overall goal is 'to create the basic preconditions for promoting creativity, the results of scientific and technological research and local innovative capacity, thereby furthering the use of the intellectual property system for the benefit of the scientific, technological, economic, cultural and social development of the country'. Well said, says this Leo.
Much thought has gone into formulating the Strategy as it draws from a multiplicity of other relevant documents, policies and programs, namely:
'the main national, regional and international instruments guiding Mozambique’s development, such as Agenda 2025, the Expanded Program for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA), the Government’s Five-Year Plan, the Millennium Development Goals, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the various policies and strategies of the relevant sectors in the sphere of intellectual property, in particular the Policy on Science and Technology, the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Industrial Policy and Strategy, the Rural Development Strategy, the Policy on Traditional Medicine, the Cultural Policy, and the Strategic Plan on Education and Culture'.
The contents of the Strategy are as follows:
- Overview of Intellectual Property in Mozambique
- Importance of Intellectual Property
- Vision and Goals (see above)
- Strategic Framework and Strategic Areas: These are well articulated and are quite detailed. They centre around the following seven areas:
- Dissemination of IP;
- Education and IP;
- Scientific and technological research;
- Innovation and competitiveness in industry;
- Traditional knowledge and biodiversity;
- Creativity and development of the cultural industry; and
- Administration of the intellectual property system.
The Strategy also consists of ANNEX II: Intellectual Property Action Plan which outlines 25 strategic goals to which short and medium term actions are assigned, as is a mid-term (2012) achievement target. Any planning pundit will agree that this is how one sets SMART goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Assignable or Achievable (depending on who you read), Realistic and Time-related.
This is an impressive effort from Mozambique which seems to be doing well as far as its IP environment is concerned. As Kingsley noted here, it also has a vibrant IP Office website and is providing regional IP leadership in the person of the former Director-General of Mozambique's Industrial Property Institute (IPI) Mr Fernando Dos Santos who is the current Director-General of ARIPO.
Recent Afro-IP posts on Mozambique
The Global Innovation Index: Ranking African countries since 2007..
Mozambique signs up for Berne at last!
Thursday, 2 October 2014
Africa has seen what has been described as a "remarkable growth" since the mid-1990s, with 10 of the world's 11 fastest-growing economies by 2020 expected to emerge from the continent.If you click through to the Team's web page, you will find that the report is accessible to MARQUES members only. However, if you want sight of it you may find it worth contacting Mariëtte on a personal basis and asking there is any chance that you might get to see it -- particularly if you are with a firm or company that is contemplating joining MARQUES and would like to see the quality of its work.
This has prompted greater concern among investors about protecting and commercialising their intellectual property in Africa. In a paper published on the Trade Mark Team's website, Mariëtte Du Plessis of Adams & Adams reviews recent developments in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, South Sudan, São Tomè & Príncipe, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tunisia.
She also provides an update on ARIPO and OAPI, the latter of which has confirmed its intention to join the Madrid Protocol.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
This memorandum looks forward to a degree of cooperation between the countries' respective patent offices, and the Egyptian Patent Office (EGPO) -- an accepted examination authority for PCT purposes -- will host researchers from the Oman Patent Office (OPTO) for training in substantive examination of patent applications in Oman. The EGPO will send examiners to the OPTO for training purposes and will also examine all pending patent applications pending in Oman.
Monday, 29 September 2014
Ms. Anne Leer (Norway), Deputy Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector.
Mr. Mario Matus (Chile), Deputy Director General, Development Sector.
Mr. John Sandage (United States of America), Deputy Director General, Patents and Technology Sector.
Ms. Binying Wang (China), Deputy Director General, Brands and Designs Sector.
Mr. Minelik Getahun (Ethiopia), Assistant Director General, Global Issues Sector.
Mr. Naresh Prasad (India), Assistant Director General, Chief of Staff.
Mr. Ramanathan Ambi Sundaram (Sri Lanka), Assistant Director General, Administration and Management Sector.
Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi (Japan), Assistant Director General, Global Infrastructure Sector.
For those who are wondering, the current Senior Management Team consists of
Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria), Deputy Director General, Development Sector
Mr. James Pooley (US), Deputy Director General, Innovation and Technology Sector
Ms. Binying Wang (China), Deputy Director General, Brands and Designs Sector
Mr. Christian Wichard (Germany), Deputy Director General, Global Issues Sector
Mr. Trevor C. Clarke (Barbados), Assistant Director General, Copyright
Mr. Ambi Sundaram (Sri Lanka), Assistant Director General, Administration and Management Sector
Mr. Yoshiyuki (Yo) Takagi (Japan), Assistant Director General, Global Infrastructure
Mr. Naresh Prasad (India), Chief of Staff
Ms Wang and Mr Takagi are the only incumbents who have retained their portfolios.
see WIPO's Press Statement here
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Another high point on the visit was the meeting between the Chinese Minister and his Cameroon counterpart. The opportunity was given to Liu Yuting and the large delegation of five employees who accompanied him, to exchange views on China-Cameroon relations in the fields of industry and commerce. Aspects such penetration strategy of the international market, China's expertise in standard and quality, support for industrialization and processing of local raw materials locally, are key areas where cooperation with China must be strengthened. Cameroon home country for all members of the OAPI has benefited from the forty-eight hour visit of the Chinese authority.
OAPI has every intention of boosting its volume of application by adhering to international treaties and conventions."
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Monday, 22 September 2014
Friday, 19 September 2014
Judy Chebet, a tax and IP lawyer in John Syekei's highly effective IP team at the firm, summarises the impact on IP as follows: