Monday, 30 April 2012

A to Z of African official IP websites no.46: South Sudan

It's now week 46 and Kingsley Egbuonu has landed in a jurisdiction that was not even in existence as an independent state this time last year -- Africa's newest country, South Sudan.  It seems that the fledgling country is making a huge effort at this early stage. Let Kingsley explain in his own words:
"Overview 
The Republic of South Sudan is yet to become a member of WIPO and to ratify any of the treaties administered by it. 
Copyright Office 
• The Directorate of Registration of Businesses, Associations and NGOs (Ministry of Justice) is the competent office responsible for copyright and related rights in South Sudan. 
• The website for this office is www.mojss.org
Industrial Property Office 
• The Directorate of Registration of Businesses, Associations and NGOs (Ministry of Justice) is the competent office responsible for the administration of intellectual property rights in South Sudan. 
• The website for this office is www.mojss.org
Social Media Presence 
None found. 
Intellectual Property update in South Sudan 
Afro-IP has reported on various developments of practical significance since 2011 and these can be found here, here and here.
Conclusion 
Less than a year old, South Sudan’s independent existence is still at risk and this may hamper much-needed solid legal foundations to function properly -- intellectual property being the least of its worries. However and not surprising is that this hasn’t prevented China from investing in the country -- and this is more likely to be good news than bad for the people of South Sudan. 
Afro-IP is pleased to at least find that the Ministry of Justice in South Sudan has an informative website and the same Ministry will apparently be in charge of IP administration and/or development. Out of interest, Afro-IP found out that the Government of South Sudan-- @RepSouthSudan --is actually tweeting away on Twitter.   
We are equally glad to learn here and here that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan has made the protection of intellectual property rights one of its specific investment policies in order to attract investment in the country. Further, if the Investment Promotion Act of 2009 is anything to go by, then paragraph 35 states that 
“The Government shall protect the intellectual property rights of all persons and investors in Southern Sudan and shall enforce rights to trade marks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights in accordance with any related international conventions to which the Republic of the Sudan is a signatory.” 
When this is read together with Article 28 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011), then it is also evidently safe to say that IP protection is in the letter and spirit of the law in South Sudan to convince IP owners. 
Without getting carried away, one thing is for sure: South Sudan will be starting on a fresh page in setting its IP regime; everyone, including Afro-IP, will be watching to see whether it will create one which is bespoke – without alienating minimum international standards -- or one which copies another word-for-word. 
Afro-IP hopes to keep readers up-to-date with IP developments in South Sudan. For Laws and Policies of South Sudan see here -- and here is a brochure for the IP Registry in South Sudan".
Kinglsey tweets as @IPinAfrica

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