Monday, 28 December 2009
Saturday, 26 December 2009
A few months ago, Afro-Leo posted about the then-upcoming African-Arab Seminar on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions. A brief recap, the seminar was part of WIPO’s Standing Committee o n Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) on work on copyright limitations and exceptions. The December Bibliotheca Alexandrina Access 2 Knowledge (A2K) newsletter contains a very brief synopsis of the event. BA A2K’s PowerPoint presentation from the seminar is available from WIPO.
Although missing the benefit of Hala Essalmawi’s verbal presentation, the slide show provides a lot of useful information. It reviews the importance of accessible knowledge in the building of civilizations, reviews international treaties as they relate to copyright exceptions and notes a few alternatives to over-extensive copyright protection.
For those interested in more information about the Seminar and BA A2K, the last slide also provides contact information.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
The onus to verify whether goods are fakes or not has been put on Revenue authorities , rather than the police. One of the representatives, Christa Cepuch, who is HAI Africa director of programmes, states that "The law further gives these officials excessive powers, making the process difficult and expensive. Moreover, the onus to prove the products are not fakes lies with the accused, a price many will not be willing to pay”.
The full story is available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200912221173.html
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Source: December Newsletter of NJQ Associates (Amman, Jordan).
An ongoing suit against famed brewery Guinness before the Federal High Court of Nigeria has moved from Justice Shaibu to Justice Archibong. Both the original and current justice on the case have experience handling copyright infringement suits, and both have previously heard cases brought by the plaintiff in this case, Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN).
Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) brought suit against Guinness alleging infringement of musical works in which MCSN holds the rights. Business World, which reported on the case does not say what acts of infringement are alleged, whether Guinness used musical works in advertising, hosted concerts or some other type of infringing act.
Guinness denies any infringement. According to Business World, Guinness claims at the time of the alleged infringement MCSN was not licensed to operate as a collecting society in Nigeria. This is a defense that has worked for other companies in the past. [This defense stems from the long-lasting dispute between MCSN and Performing Musicians Rights Society (PMRS) over who has the authority to collect music royalties in Nigeria. (For more on the history of the dispute, see here; For information on the dispute in the past few months, see allAfrica.com.]
Guinness appears not to be too concerned with the suit in their statement, but then it is rather standard practice for defendants to assure everyone that the suit against them is baseless. Perhaps the company may need to focus right now on recovering from the Dublin factory fire.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
I had two pleasant surprises – the first a wonderful article by fellow blogger Jeremy on IP research, which appears in the new WIPO Journal. The full journal is available here and Jeremy’s article starts on p138. It should be compulsory reading for all post-graduate students and anyone else who writes on IP matters.
The second was an equally pleasant surprise. I was in Cape Town two weeks ago and got lost looking for a business in Century City, so did not feel very positive about reading the recent decision in which it featured. But the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment written by Harms DJP, Century City Apartments Property Services CC and Another v Century City Property Owners Association, available here, is enormously instructive. The paragraphs dealing with the validity of marks consisting of geographical names in previous and current UK and SA legislation, set out the law with great clarity, while the different requirements in the two jurisdictions for blameworthy conduct on the part of the proprietor is also most useful. Both of these deserve more detailed study and discussion than I can give here. However, the part dealing with costs will raise a smile (albeit wry) from all. The fun bit follows:
 …. Schutz JA once began a judgment with these words:
‘A record of 720 pages and heads of argument totalling 57 pages have been placed before us in order to allow us to decide whether the wrapping of its coconut biscuits used by one manufacturer passes itself off as the wrapping of another manufacturer of similar biscuits.’ (Blue Lion Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd v National Brands Ltd  4 All SA 235 (SCA) para 1.) Not to be outshone the parties in this case presented us with a record of 1,557 pages. Trade mark cases have developed into paper wars in the apparent belief that the weight of the papers of the respective parties determines the merits or that the threat of cost orders would force the one or other party to capitulate. …..
 … Practitioners apparently also believe that the more they burden this court with paper the better for them. Perhaps they hope that the court will locate a winning fact that they have missed. Practitioners are paid to determine what their case is about and to make a value judgment about what is required and what not; and not only to photocopy documents. This should serve as a final warning, also for counsel who tell us to read unnecessary paper.What a judgment!
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
If it does not, the alternative claim appears be based on the dilution provisions of s 34(1)(c). Here, both unfair advantage and detriment are claimed by kykNET. The allegation of ‘unfair advantage’ seems unwise, despite the fact that the goings-on of some celebrities featured on kykNET seem more appropriate to an environment like Teazers.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
The only neighbour of Sudan -- Africa's largest country -- that has signed up to the Protocol so far is Egypt, where it has been in effect since 3 September of this year.
Unlike Lolly, this blog encourages interaction and has set up a poll alongside for your comment. Cast your vote - is this a case of unfair advantage, is it a case of detriment, is there a defence or is there merit in the case at all? You have until 11 December to make your call, the same date as Lolly.
The relevant provisions of the Trade Mark Act can be found here - see sections S34(1)(c) and S34(2)(b). We shall assume the mark kykNET is validly registered for the services in respect of which which it is used.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
"..the meeting was an excellent opportunity for us to witness the inner workings of ARIPO and to gain a better understanding of the organisation and its current projects.
There were substantive discussions surrounding the domestication of the Harare and Banjul Protocols into the national laws of the various signatory states and a tacit acknowledgement by all the officials present that this must be done without delay in order to make the system more attractive to potential users. Joyce Banya from WIPO's Africa Bureau was in attendance as the Africa Bureau has been very active in assisting many of the member countries with improvements to their system and the development of national IP Policies. INTA's OAPI / ARIPO Committee also presented their preliminary report back on the work that they have been doing to obtain information about the trade mark laws in the ARIPO member states.
There is a growing sense that the ARIPO system is gaining ground and it seems to be growing in its capacity (with WIPO's assistance) to act as a regional intellectual property lobbying body and effect real and substantive improvements for the member states who wish to take advantage of the benefits of the organisation."