Friday, 19 December 2014

More on OAPI and Biko

Following Jeremy's announcement on Monday that OAPI is joining Madrid, our colleague from Cameroon Aminou Ndala TITA also had this to say:

"...However, OAPI has not amended its trade mark law to recognize International Registrations, and it is unlikely to do so before 5 March 2015. Until the law is amended, International Registrations designating OAPI will not be enforceable until the law changes to recognize such trademarks. It is expected that the December session of its administrative council will address this pressing issue."

And, if you wanted an update on the Biko autopsy saga, local news channel ENCA has it here.

IP policies in Africa no.s 46 and 47: South Sudan and Sudan

South Sudan 
Neither Sudan nor South Sudan have a national IP policy yet nor do they seem to be working on one, which is understandable for countries that have been mired in military conflict. Sudan is a member of ARIPO, the AU and COMESA and as such subscribes to the COMESA IP policy as well as benefits from any national IP policy initiatives from these three organisations.

For IP laws see Sudan's WIPOLex entry here and South Sudan's here
Kingsley's overview of South Sudan's official IP websites here
Kingsley's overview of Sudan's official IP websites here 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Douala (Cameroon) hosts important OAPI meeting

This is a report by Aminou Ndala TITA based in Cameroon on developments at OAPI:

fancy new logo
The Board of Directors of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) held its 54th Ordinary Session in Douala, the economic capital of its host country on 14 December 2014. This expert meeting preceded the conference of Ministers which took place from 8 to 13 December 2014. The work of the assembly this time around was to address issues related to the management of intellectual property within the Organization. On the agenda was:

  • The creation of  an arbitration and mediation center for intellectual property disputes at OAPI;
  • The Regulation concerning the international registration of marks with OAPI heading for Madrid;
  • The accession of OAPI and its member states to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks;
  • The adoption of the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013;
  • The adoption of the budget for fiscal year 2015.

Monday, 15 December 2014

OAPI accedes to Madrid Protocol

By Madrid (Marks) Notification No. 203: Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, WIPO informs us of the accession by the African Intellectual Property Organization (a.k.a. OAPI) to the Madrid Protocol.

This accession is made subject to two declarations. First
* in accordance with Article 5(2)(d) of the Madrid Protocol (1989), under Article 5(2)(b) of the Protocol, the time limit of one year to exercise the right to notify a refusal of protection referred to in Article 5(2)(a) thereof is replaced by 18 months and under Article 5(2)(c) of the said Protocol, when a refusal of protection may result from an opposition to the granting of protection, such refusal may be notified to the International Bureau after the expiry of the 18-month time limit; and

* in accordance with Article 8(7)(a) of the Madrid Protocol (1989), OAPI, in connection with each international registration in which it is mentioned under Article 3ter of the said Protocol, and in connection with the renewal of any such international registration, wants to receive, instead of a share in the revenue produced by the supplementary and complementary fees, an individual fee.
The Madrid Protocol (1989) will enter into force, with respect to the 17-state African Intellectual Property Organization, on March 5, 2015.

This blogger notes that the English-speaking Africans may be having some fun at the expense of their French cousins. If you conduct a Google search of the words "African Intellectual Property Organization" -- ie OAPI -- the first search result is the website of the Anglophone "Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation" (ARIPO). Does any reader have an explanation ...  ?

IP policies in Africa no.45: South Africa

This is by far the easiest national IP policy overview to write in this series because Afro-IP has been providing a running commentary on South Africa's draft IP policy since its publication in September 2013. The links to these posts are far too many to list, to view them search for "South Africa IP Policy".  Much has been said about the merits (or otherwise) of the draft national IP Policy. Suffice to say that it has many hot under the collar for various reasons. All that remains to be said is that the policy has been way too long in the making and this Leo is disappointed that 2014 is fading out without the finalisation of the policy.

WIPOLex entry here
Kingsley's overview of the official IP websites here

Burundi Business, Industrial & Investment Forum: no IP on the agenda

This blogger learns that Euroconvention Global, under the Auspices of the Government of the Republic of Burundi and in collaboration with UNIDO and the National Federal Chamber of Commerce, is running a Burundi Business, Industrial & Investment Forum on 21 and 22 January 2015 in Bujumbura, at the Hotel Lake Tanganyika. According to the conference organisers' details:
The country is becoming a stable neighbor to all regional economies and, as such, is increasingly attracting international interest thanks to the favorable policy of its Government.As Burundi is rebuilding its economy, it welcomes foreign participation and partnership in all sectors of its economy, offering new business development and unlocking investment opportunities in almost every sector. That is what this unique Forum is all about, gathering under one roof senior Government officials, International Financial Institutions, business organizations and private sector decision makers.Key topics will include:
  1. Further structural reforms, privatizations and long term opportunities
  1. Liberalized foreign exchange regime, prudent fiscal policy
  1. Good governance and improved public financial management
  1. Industrial and manufacturing potential, export
  1. Infrastructure, transport, logistics, construction and real estate
  1. Energy, renewable, natural resources and mining
  1. Telecom, ICT and e-technology
  1. Agribusiness and livestock
Kindly be advised that the sessions, presentations and debates will be held in French and in English languages, with simultaneous translation.
This is an opportunity missed, an opportunity to mention the encouraging words "intellectual property". Just over a year ago, Afro-IP's Caroline Ncube reported on Burundi's intellectual property policy, which doesn't appear to have gone beyond a draft, and sadly there doesn't seem to be much news since then.  This blogger would feel more inclined to invest in Burundi's small but growing economy if he felt that IP investment was protected and that consumer confidence was strengthened by firm resistance to the importation of counterfeits.

Friday, 12 December 2014

IP Policies in Africa no.44: Somalia

Somalia does not yet have a national IP policy nor could this Leo find any information pertaining to the preparation of one. As a member of ARIPO, Somalia participates in annual round table sessions for Heads of IP offices on Topical IP Policy issues which are held in conjunction the Administrative Council and Ordinary Session of the ARIPO Council of Ministers (see here).

For IP laws see Somalia's WIPOLex entry here
Kingsley's overview of official IP websites here

RSA: Cabinet approves the introduction of the Plant Breeders Rights Amendment Bill to Parliament

Legalbrief Today reports here that on 10 December 2014 Cabinet has approved the tabling of the Plant Breeders Rights  Amendment Bill to parliament. The Cabinet media statement is available here for those who want to go directly to the official government source of this information. This Leo found all the other information contained in the statement, especially that pertaining to the recent goings-on in Parliament, rather entertaining distracting. In 2011 a draft Bill was gazetted for public comment and several parties such as SAIIPL submitted their comments. Further work was done on the Bill and a 2013 version of the Bill (available here) was then gazetted for public comment (Gen Notice 407 GG36392/26-4-2013). Again, several parties, such as Biowatch, submitted their commentsThe version of the Bill that will be tabled before Parliament will hopefully address the concerns raised by such comments. 

Plant Breeders Rights Policy here

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

IP Policies in Africa no.43: Sierra Leone

WIPO reports (here) that it was involved in the launch of a national IP policy formulation process for Sierra Leone. The country's experience of the process was outlined at a WIPO Conference on the Role of Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) in Promoting Innovation, Business Competitiveness and Economic Growth held in Tokyo, Japan in 2012 (read Osman KANU, Senior State Counsel's presentation here).  This Leo was unable to find any further information on the progress of this process. It is safe to say that it is as yet incomplete because WIPO's latest report on its national IP policy initiatives to the 14th session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property held on 10 -14 November 2014 still refers only to the launching of the process ( see report, dated 28 October 2014, here).

Sierra Leone's IP legislation - WIPOLex
IP Office website - Intellectual Property Registry, Office of the Administrator & Registrar General - here
Sierra Leone's new IP legislation and ARIPO feedback (2012)
A review of African official IP websites: no.42: Seychelles and no.43: Sierra Leone (2013)
WIPO Conference on the Role of Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) in Promoting Innovation, Business Competitiveness and Economic Growth  (2012) - meeting documents here 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Steve Biko Autopsy Case. A privilege.

This week I have had the real privilege of working on the Steve Biko autopsy case which has received much local coverage over the last few days and where my firm and the advocates (George Bizos SC and Paola Cirone) are acting without charge. 

It has been a privilege not only to understand and listen to the families and Steve Biko Foundation over a very emotional issue but to get to appreciate that when George Bizos SC (87) explains some of the moments that have made history in our country (including the circumstances of Biko and Timol’s death) he literally, at times, cannot speak with grief and emotion. It is very easy to forget and this is really what the case is all about – preserving RSA legacies and history (and IP) and .... doing the right thing. 

A quick snap after receiving the order yesterday with families and representatives. 

Friday, 28 November 2014

IP policies in Africa no. 41: Senegal

Senegal is a member of OAPI and is accordingly bound by the Bangui Agreement which has direct domestic application in OAPI member states. In addition, Senegal has copyright legislation, enacted in 2008 that domesticates the WIPO Internet Treaties. The country also has legislation that created a registry for films and other audiovisual works.It does not have a national IP policy nor is there any publicly available information about the preparation of a such policy presumably because it subscribes to a common OAPI policy stance.

While scratching about the OAPI website, this Leo discovered that  since 22 September 2014, OAPI is sporting a new logo (see the announcement here)
new OAPI logo
WIPOLex entry here
Industrial Property Office website and Kingsley's commentary on it here 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Africa's best and most influential in 2014, plus something for 2015

Read all about it in AB's Dec edition
Brand Finance release Africa's best brands 2014
At the official launch at the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Brand Africa announced the 2014 Brand Africa 100® ranking of the most admired and most valuable brands in Sub-Saharan Africa. In a list dominated by electronics (17%), beverages (14%), auto manufacturers (14%), apparel (12%) and telecommunications (10%), pan-African telecommunications giant, MTN, topped the African list as the most valuable and most admired African brand.

Valued at over $5.4bn MTN is the only African brand valued over a billion dollars. Apple, at $105bn replaced Samsung as the most valuable non-African brand, while Coca Cola retained its position as the most admired non-African brand in Africa. Coca-Cola toppled MTN as the overall most admired brand in Africa.
For more information contact my good friend Ollie here.
Something new for 2015?
"Our client is one of the world's largest biochemical and agricultural companies. They are urgently looking for a French and English speaking lawyer to support the African business, reporting directly to the Head of Legal based in Switzerland. (You will be based in either of South Africa or Kenya)
The ideal candidate will have 4 - 6 years of PQ experience and a good understanding of commercial, IP and Anti-Trust matters with a willingness to travel across the region."
Interested? Get in touch with Ilana here. There is nothing in it for Afro-IP but please let Ilana know you heard about it here.
Africa's most influential
On your reading list?
This year's listing of most influential Africans makes for an interesting read. It was a year that saw over 200 schoolgirls abducted overnight by the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram - an event Obiageli Ezekwesili was not going to let slip away quietly. Listed by New African for her influence in Civil Society and Activism, Ezekwesili, one of the founders of Transparency International used her voice to speak up for those who could not, as she demand #BringbackOurGirls. Slowly but surely this message went viral and the world began to listen.

Another one who makes the list is Lupita Nyong'o, who set fashion blogs on fire and left film critics in awe, as she gracefully carried the beauty of Africa to the global stage. Celebrated by New African for winning an Oscar for her role in '12 Years a Slave', the academy award winning actress was also appointed ambassador for Lancôme cosmetics and named as Glamour's woman of the year.

Afro-IP is going to be involved in promoting a seminar in the new year (probably February) on the protection African legacies using IP. We will look at structuring, protection, nurturing and licensing models unique to African personalities. If you are interested in attending or speaking or knowing more, please let me know here.

Cochrane Steel appeals keyword decision

Finally, if you have been following Africa's first keyword decision, Cochrane Steel have now sought leave to appeal to the SCA. Further information on this case to follow.

Monday, 24 November 2014

IP policies in Africa no. 40: São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tome and Principe recently joined ARIPO (see Aurelia's post here).  WIPO  has drafted a National Intellectual Property Development Plan  for the country upon its request and held validation meeting on the policy in September 2014 ( see meeting details here, in  French). The policy itself is not yet publicly available but hopefully it will be available on WIPOLex after its formal adoption by the country.
WIPOLex entry here
Industrial Property Office website here

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Illusionary Rise of Africa

St Andrews logo from name tag Are the BRIC countries intensifying Africa’s dependent position in the global political economy?  This was the question presented by Professor Ian Taylor yesterday at his presentation in Chicago.

This Little Leo had the privilege of attending the program, which was hosted by the University of St. Andrews, thanks to the graciousness of her little sister.  (Her sister studied abroad there, and so took her along as ‘friend of an alum’ despite the topic not being on the top of her “interesting things to do on a Tuesday night” list.)

Africa Rising?

We are all very familiar with the “Africa Rising” language.  On this blog alone, we’ve covered it many times: as early as a 2008 review of Vijay Mahajan’s book titled Africa Rising, a 2010 JIPLP article review, INTA’s Africa Rising initiative in 2012, an update on it in 2014, highlighting The Economist’s 2013 “Africa Rising” cover, WIPO’s 2013 announcement to open regional offices on the continent, and recently the EU and US desires to be part of the movement with their summits.  Look at all this great stuff happening!  Look at all the attention!  Surely, Africa must be rising.  Everyone says so, and after all, three people produce a tiger.  Could we really all be wrong?

Yes, says Professor Taylor.  Africa is not really rising.  It is an illusion.  This illusion is accepted by so many people because it is produced by applying economic measuring tools that work (or at least are presumed to work)* for developed countries to developing country economies.  Namely, GDP growth is used as the measuring stick for development.  However, Professor Taylor points out, GDP is computed using the location of value origin without considering where the value actually winds up.  In the case of most African countries, the rising GDP numbers are triggered by exporting of commodities, raw resources whose true value is added and kept outside of the source countries.

The true direction of change

Professor Taylor explained his point with some charts and graphs.  One showed the mimicking shadow of Africa’s GDP against the global commodities market.  The former is nearly completely reliant on the later.  For the continent as a whole, 80% of all exports are commodities, for Western Africa, 90%; for Central, a whopping 98%.  Because commodity prices are high and the commodities Africa has are in high demand, many African countries have increasing GDP numbers, which makes it look like they’re developing.  To understand the real “growth” (or lack of it), Professor Taylor recommends using a different measuring tool called Genuine Savings.  To compute genuine savings you use the following equation:

genuine savings

When this formula is used, none of the African countries on the Top 10 Growth Charts show positive numbers.  Nigeria, for example, often hailed for its development, had GDP growth of 6.7% in 2012, but it’s Genuine Savings “growth” was -10.2%.  Ouch.  Even South Africa, the usual outlier with a comparatively diversified economy is not in clear water, showing 2012 GDP growth of 2.5%, it’s 2012 Genuine Savings growth was -0.9%.  (Little Leo would like to point out a particularly interesting comment by Professor Taylor: Genuine Savings is actually the method of calculation preferred by the World Bank. Why isn’t it the standard?)

Deja Vu

The scary part is this is not new.  Africa has seen this before, particularly in the 1960s.  (This is where everyone’s alarm bells should be going off.)  This is how things were around the time that many countries were becoming independent.  Commodity prices were high and Africa’s commodities were in high demand.  Now, in this decade of jubilee celebrations, are we really just back where we started? 

There is one difference this time, it’s not the former colonists finishing up the grabs they started back in the long lost years when the Brits were the prude ones. (eg.) The current biggest exporters of these commodities are BRIC countries.  The time-frame when Africa’s “growth” started is the same time when BRIC countries became really interested in getting commodities from Africa.

BRICs Walling in Africa?

Wait a minute. (Pause for Little Leo’s comments.)  Aren’t the BRIC countries our friends, our brothers and sisters in the Global South?  They’re the ones that stood with us at Doha, that helped us create a Development Agenda at WIPO, that rally with us to tweak the global IP regime ever so much so that it can almost start to work for us.  They’re the ones that lead our collective oomph in these arenas.  Are they really hurting us by trading with us?

Again, Professor Taylor says yes.  (Unpause.)  Commodities are finite resources.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.  Relying on commodity exports to fuel the economy wedges countries into a “resource corner.”  If African countries do not start adding value within their borders, they’re going to be in trouble as soon as prices fall and needs wane.

Give Us More!

Professor Taylor ended his presentation with a call for more research on the following four issues:

  1. How can emerging economies promote sustainable development? (This is a question also asked by many IP scholars.  Perhaps there’s a chance for some overlap here or the *This section (above) is a summary of Professor Taylor’s presentation. Little Leo’s comments are in red so as to prevent her getting credit for his brilliancy or him for her lack thereof.opportunity to work with Professor Taylor.) 
  2. Exploring the difference between B, R, I, and C, etc.
  3. Implications for governance in Africa. (Little Leo sees conversations about this frequently on Twitter. The younger generation seems very much aware of the loss of value-add opportunities and understands the current barriers.)
  4. Implications for the West.

*This section (above) is a summary of Professor Taylor’s presentation. Little Leo’s comments are in red so as to prevent her getting credit for his brilliancy or him for her lack thereof.

Little Leo wasn’t able to ask her questions, like how the population’s youngness or the growing number of highly educated and influential active members of society might change the trajectory such that the next few decades are not a repeat of the 1970s and ‘80s. --She and her sister had to run to the station to catch the last train home.  (Sadly, there are no minibuses or pikipiki between Chicago and Milwaukee.)--  Before she could raise her hand, a gentleman near the back blurted out his I-clearly-know-nothing-about-Africa question, which she could have forgiven him for a little more easily if he’d at least raised his hand. 

What he asked was what anyone who hadn’t experienced the answers first-hand might have asked, “Why isn’t value being added in country?”  Professor Taylor began listing the reasons: poor infrastructure, bureaucracy, corruption, unsecure nature of property rights, etc.  So what can be done to change this?  And, primarily for our interest (because this is, after all, an IP blog and Little Leo had to get there eventually), how can IP practitioners and scholars and the IP regime help bring about value-adding within Africa’s borders?  Let’s add that question to Professor Taylor’s list above.

IP’s Role in Changing the Trajectory

A few simplistic answers to get us started.  We’ve already seen some ways in which we, collectively as the IP-savvy African movers and shakers (this Little muzungu Leo should stop lying, she cannot move or shake like an African), have worked towards increasing the ability of companies to add value within our borders.  Many of the posts linked to above in the “Africa Rising” discourse paragraph discuss these things.  Strengthening of IP enforcement is a big one and addresses part of the insecurity of property rights Professor Taylor mentioned.  A lot of this enforcement so far has been criminal enforcement against counterfeit goods, but increasing enforcement capabilities through less bureaucracy in the court system for civil enforcement and removing corruption from registration agencies are additional approaches.  Caroline Ncube’s IP Policy Reviews are a great resource to help us identify additional areas needing further improvement.

If the current “rise” is really just the balloon of Africa being blown sky high by the gusty winds of the BRIC countries’ whims, let’s switch it to a hot air balloon powered internally by our own needs, creations and developments.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Scholarship Opportunity for Particular Countries

Via Sean Flynn and the Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest comes an announcement particularly relevant for our readers and friends in Congo DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Libya, Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan*.  The Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) is currently accepting applications to earn a scholarship for a fully-funded Master’s degree, including an LLM in IP.

From the CSLA announcement,

The purpose of the Program is to directly assist future leaders in countries where civil society is challenged by a deficit of democratic practice in local governance and social development. Awards are available for MA degree study in the following fields at universities participating in the CSLA program.

There’s a full list of participating universities and programs available on the application page at  One school that is definitely offering an LLM in IP is Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C.  More info about their program here. This Little Leo didn’t find other schools offering exactly this degree on her brief glance/click-through, so interested cubs should check into individual schools if for more information on a particular institution.

For full details on the scholarship, see here (note that this is a google drive hosted document).  Applications are due 15 December 2014 for study beginning in summer 2015.

*There are also non-African countries eligible; see the civil society leadership link above for a full list.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Keyword Advertising - a few seats still available

This week's Breakfast Seminar covering online advertising hosted by this Leo through his firm as part of their Sandton Office opening promotion, coincides with the recent Clearvu decision (Cochrane Steel V M-Systems).

Gareth Cliff has kindly agreed to get a panel discussion going on the decision and it should be fun.There are a few seats left but it's not a breakfast - 18h00 for the lively discussion featuring attorney Ian Learmonth, digital specialist Cameron Mcnaughton and chartered marketeer Jason Cleghorn (who, by the way, used to market Ferrari) ...

In case the link does not work try

IP policies in Africa no. 39: Rwanda

Much has been written about Rwanda on Afro-IP (see here, here and here for recent examples). By all accounts, Rwanda's IP policy, 2009 (full text here) is impressive. One of these is Kaitlin Mara's IP Watch article, entitled "New Rwanda IP Policy Taps Information For Development" (available here). Having read the policy, this Leo is persuaded by the good reviews. However, one issue remains,  that is the big I - implementation.

The policy includes an implementation time frame which scheduled the completion of all specified activities by the end of 2011. For example, joining the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) by February 2010 is listed as an activity under the rubric of 'Facilitating access to IP-based essential goods and services especially in the health and food sectors.' Rwanda joined ARIPO in 2011 (see here) where developments pertaining to ARIPO's proposed PVP Law have attracted some criticism (see here and here for examples).

The national IP policy also provides for impact assessment and  periodic policy review. According to clause 7.5 of the policy the first impact assessment and review  had 'to be carried out two (2) years from the time of the launch of the Policy (2011). Thereafter the assessment and review should be carried out every four years with the third impact assessment and review timed to coincide with the end of Vision 2020'. This Leo was unable to find copies of these assessment and review reports. However, that is not to say that they were not done. The policy has not been updated since its adoption which would indicate that the assessment and reviews have not indicated that any changes are required. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

IP policies in Africa no. 36 - 38: Namibia, Niger and Nigeria

Namibia's WIPOLex entry (here) does not list a national IP policy. However Darren's post (here) alerted Afro-IP readers to recent developments relating to Namibia's new IP legislation. In 2012 the country promulgated the Industrial Property Act  (available in full here) which will come into force once implementing regulations are in place. Namibia has also introduced a new IP administrative structure, the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), although the BIPA Act  has not yet been passed (see media reports here and here).

Niger is the only LDC amongst the three countries reviewed today. The country's WIPOLex entry (here) does not include a  national IP policy. This Leo was unable to unearth any  information about a national IP policy formulation process in Niger. It is more likely that any such development will emanate from OAPI, of which Niger is a member.

Nigeria's WIPOLex entry (here) makes no reference to a national IP policy. However, according to a 2012-2013 WIPO report (here) a policy formulation process has been launched. Presumably, a national IP policy will be finalised soon. The country's Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2011 (available here) deals with IP, in clause 3.4. The clause begins with this restatement of  the usual utilitarian rationale for IP protection:
"There is need to create and protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and give recognition to creative Nigerians in order to stimulate the development of inventions as well as create wealth for IP owners and country" (sic). It then proceeds to set out  the following strategies in clause 3.4.3:

i.Ensuring adequate intellectual property recognition, promotion and protection of
creativities, traditional knowledge, indigenous technology and other intellectual assets.
ii. Building local capacities in intellectual property management for effective transfer of
iii. Promoting a sustainable culture on intellectual property at all educational levels [This Leo is not sure what this means].
iv. Establishing and strengthening Technology Transfer Offices for effective management
and utilisation of Intellectual Property Rights in the National System of Innovation.
v. Providing appropriate incentives for creativity and innovation to stimulate creativity and
vi. Developing a viable IP policy especially regarding royalties and ownerships mechanism
for equitable distribution of benefits accruing from inventions, traditional knowledge,
biodiversity resources and innovations among stakeholders.
vii. Establishing, regularly updating and facilitating access to intellectual property data bank
and portals.
viii. Ensuring a dynamic development of the IPR system to address new and emerging
creativities including initiating when appropriate, the enactment and review of IP laws
to incorporate all aspects and issues relating to plant breeders rights, traditional
knowledge and genetic resources
ix. Encouraging partnership with International IPR systems and organisations such as
x. Supporting the development of IP assets through incubation and commercialisation
xi. Developing the required human capital to protect and enforce IP legislature and

Of these, strategies vi and ix are of the most interest to this Leo. The first (vi), because its promise of an IP policy to follow and the second (ix) because of its reference to ARIPO. As many  Afro-IP readers know, Nigeria is not an ARIPO member but has observer status. One of the oft-repeated regrets about ARIPO is the fact that Nigeria and South Africa are not members. Indeed it has been said that PAIPO (the proposed Pan-African IP organisation) ought to be formed to net these big economies... but that's a debate for another day. For today, this Leo is happy to sign off with her rather slim pickings of IP policy developments in Namibia, Niger and Nigeria. 

See Kingsley's overview of Namibia's official IP websites here
See Kingsley's overview of Niger's official IP websites here
See Kingsley's overview of Nigeria's official IP websites here

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

SAIIPL Dinner (Saturday) and AGM (tomorrow) - be there!

On Saturday evening this blogger had the pleasure of attending the SAIIPL annual dinner held at Silver Lakes (yes, the place near where Oscar shot Reeva). Sat between SAIIPL organiser extraordinaire  Marie-Louise Grobler and fun members of the growing firm Bredenkamp Attorneys, I learnt many things.

The first and most important for members of the Institute is that the AGM is tomorrow Wednesday 14h30 at Irene Country Club. You won't get any shootings but you will be guaranteed a lively agenda. The Institute is one of the largest and most important organisations for IP on the continent with a 300 strong membership. But it needs you.

Secondly, it is clear to me that very few SAIIPL members attending INTA will be staying at the Sheraton who had, just a week or so before the black tie event on Saturday apparently cancelled the booking for a wedding of the rich and famous. We got bumped and many had to cancel bookings at the hotel. It's at times like this we need to look at the Institute's profile, I mean why are we getting bumped? :). I believe it is agenda item 2 at the AGM. Be there.

Thirdly, did you know that Marie-Louise pilots helicopters for fun and arrived at the dinner having just shot 83 on the golf course!? This is how she keeps sane managing 300 members, a host of sub committees and helping the Institute to remain relevant, something she explained to me has become quite a task over the last 10 years as the Institute's views have recently been shunned by government. I think this is item 3, related to item 2. Be there.

Fourthly (is that right?), for those who don't know Bredenkamp Attorneys (who embraced me as one of their own at the table, figuratively I mean), they have just recently lured Brian Wimpey (ex head of IP at Norton Rose) to bolster their services, now offered through offices in both Pretoria and Sandton. They are a bit different. Brian wears his trade mark earring and used to have parrot, and Karel does not mind fixing pumps at his farm when not drafting or litigating on patent specs. I am sure they will be represented at the AGM. So be there!

Brand Pretorious
Finally, anyone who didn't think that key note speaker on Saturday, Brand Pretorious, was not simply outstanding, probably did not attend the dinner. His talk was the best I have listened to and whilst that may not be saying much, since I am writing this post I felt like saying it! Well done Adelhart for getting him there. Brand won't be at the AGM tomorrow. But you need to be.

Hope to see you there.