Friday, 28 September 2012
The CSIR looks like an interesting African project combining public and private cooperation in the funding of innovation, with just 30% of its cash coming directly from the state, the rest being made up through contract work with public and private sector entities. Founded in 1945, it is actually older than most African countries. Certainly it appears from its website that CSIR is a stable and successful organisation. If so, this blogger wonders why has it not been a model to be emulated and developed across the Continent.
Thursday, 27 September 2012
According to this news article, in a bid to speed up cases in Lagos courts, the judiciary has introduced the compulsory use of ADR. The new High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure rules 2012 launched by the chief judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, apparently contain the provisions.
If anyone can comment if and how these rules apply to IP disputes, we would be grateful.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
For our North African readers and other Arabic speakers interested in the open access side of copyright, here’s information on the upcoming Creative Commons Arab World Regional Meeting to be held in Cairo from 11 to 15 December this year. The meeting will be conducted in Arabic.
The last Arab World Regional Meeting was held in Tunis and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
تنظم مؤسسة المشاع الإبداعي بالمشاركة مع مؤسسة التعبير الرقمي العربي (أضف) ملتقى يضم الناشطين العرب و المؤمنين بالرخص الحرة والحق في المعرفة، منهم من أنتجوا أعمالهم تحت رخص المشاع الإبداعي
ينظم الملتقى الرابع
" المشاع الإبداعي/ العالم العربي "
من ١١ - ١٥ ديسمبر/كانون الأول ٢٠١٢ في مقر أضف في القاهرة.
إذا كنت ترغب في التقدم للمشاركة في الملتقى العربي الرابع للمشاع الإبداعي وعندك أفكار لورش ممكن أن تنظمها بمفردك أو بالمشاركة مع آخرين يرجى إعادة إرسال هذه الاستمارة، بعد ملئها، في موعد أقصاه الاثنين 15 أكتوبر
§ يرجى توضيح الاسم والعمر والجنسية ومحل الإقامة والمهنة (مجال التخصص)، كما يرجى إرفاق صورة ضوئية لجواز السفر للمقيمين خارج مصر.
§ يرجى أيضا توضيح إذا كان اقتراحك، اقتراحا فرديا أو جماعيا (فإذا كان اقتراحا جماعيا، نرجو تضمين الاسم والعمر والجنسية وبلد الإقامة والمهنة وصورة ضوئية لجواز سفر جميع أفراد الفريق المقيمين خارج مصر).
§ الرجاء كتابة فقرة قصيرة تصف ورشة العمل أو التدريب العملي الذي ترغب في اقتراحه للاجتماع الإقليمي. يرجى إرفاق رؤوس المواضيع التي ستتناولها وإطار العمل وعدد الساعات/الأيام اللازمة لتنفيذ اقتراحك.
§ يرجى أيضا توضيح الجمهور المستهدف المثالي من التدريب أو ورشة العمل (موسيقيين أو مدونين أو تربويين أو مخرجين أو رسامين...) وإذا كان هناك أي مُخرَج من أي نوع لورشة العمل الخاصة بك (فيلم أو موقع على الانترنت...).
إذا كنت لا تنوي أن تكون مدرباً أو لا تخطط لتنظيم ورشة عمل ولكن ترغب، رغم ذلك، في حضور الاجتماع الإقليمي، قم بما يلي:
§ كتابة فقرة قصيرة عن سبب رغبتك في الحضور.
§ صياغة فقرة قصيرة تتضمن الفاعليات والمشاريع التي شاركت فيها مسبقا وترتبط بالمشاع الإبداعي أو ثقافة المصادر المفتوحة.
§ يرجى الإشارة إلى شخصين أو مكانين يمكن الرجوع إليهما، أو وصلات لمواقع على شبكة الإنترنت أوصفحات فيس بوك تتعلق بالمشاريع التي ذكرتها.
§ من فضلك قل لنا إذا كنت تخطط وكيف، لتبادل هذه التجربة مع مجتمعك المحلي من الفنانين والصحفيين والتقنيين.
|NHTD Chairperson: |
The National House of Traditional Leaders recently delayed its annual official opening until further notice, which could mean that we have to wait some time before the final draft legislation gets their comment. It may well be quicker for proponents to sneak the Bill into the next nuptial papers of the President, says Afro Leo noting that Zuma's presidency comes under the spotlight at election time next year.
The DA also believes that this move will create an opportunity for them to oppose the legislation again by voicing many of the concerns raised by academics and commentators about the viability of the Bill. Readers will recall a poll on Afro-IP last year that revealed that out of 55 participants not a single vote went in favour of the proposed Bill, many preferring a separate stand-alone piece of legislation rather than amendments to existing IP laws. Prof Dean, the most outspoken critic, even went so far as to draft alternate legislation - see Afro-IP post here.
Monday, 24 September 2012
Thursday, 20 September 2012
- The Libyan IP office has started issuing trade mark certificates and examining pending applicatons but it is not possible to file new applications, unless perhaps you are Swiss. Saba brings us the news here.
- In Sudan, it is no longer necessary to legalise powers of attorney but they are concerned to know that your nationality has remained static during the period between application and the end of the opposition period. Saba in the mix again - here.
- Adams & Adams have published a comprehensive guide to intellectual property in Africa funded by the World Bank. Get your copy here (please indicate that its is an Afro-IP referral - no money for us but we would like to know).
- Spoor & Fisher and international firm DLA have entered into a strategic alliance - click here for more information.
- Punted as the largest ever IP gathering in Africa, Gift Sibande is a keynote speaker at an IP seminar where 50 representatives from 25 countries in Africa are being hosted by Adams & Adams, in Pretoria. More information here.
Monday, 17 September 2012
For all other things 'Chad' see here, here and here
Talented sportsmen and women at the OAPI, Cameroon, see here
Cameroon's medals table at the 2012 Olympics see here
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
EIFL’s focus is on increasing access to knowledge, and it works in collaboration with libraries around the world. As we all know, libraries run into plenty of copyright issues in their work. Here are some highlights from their recent African events.
FOSS Training Follow-up
Anyone who has spent more than a few weeks in an African country has probably been to or at least a large group of well-dressed people joyfully greeting each other outside a meeting hall. Trainings, workshops, meetings, from the smallest village to the largest city, there’s always an opportunity to learn. Everyone comes together, shares, talks, gets excited, and then what? For EIFL, the then what is follow-up. In this case follow-up on the FOSS for librarians training it held in Tanzania last year.
Photo: Community members participate in a workshop in Cheelo Village, Monze, Zambia.
“there were reported over 50 implementations [of FOSS software in libraries] in total since the event, with no country reporting zero implementations.”
Open Access Journals and Awards in Uganda
In July, Makerere University in Uganda hosted a workshop on “Open Access (OA) and the Evolving Scholarly Communication Environment.” The workshop recognized Uganda’s existing Open Access repositories, highlighted some top Ugandan scholarly journals and discussed publishing options.
“an African OA journal can attract large numbers of manuscripts in a very competitive environment; an increase in submission volumes comes with an increase in challenges (need for staff, system upgrade, change in procedures) which should be anticipated.”
Afro-Leo admits to being a bit disappointed here. The Africa Crop Science Journal has its articles available online – a good first step indeed! – but neither the journal nor the websites appear to actually be openly licensed. This little Leo hopes she’s just missing the open access copyright notice somewhere. The PanAfrican Medical Journal, however, made her smile as the first article she clicked on was licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Now that’s Open Access.
Uganda is also highlighted in the October newsletter for being one of two recipients of EIFL’s Innovation Award – for library services that contribute to the health of the community. Congratulations Hoima Public Library!
Nominations for next year’s award will be accepted beginning October 1st.
Congratulations to the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium on its 10th Anniversary.
If any Afro-Leo readers are attending any of these programs, please let us know. We’d love to have your report on the events.
- Within a week, there will be two open access training events at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). 14 Sept and 19 Sept.
- Jo-Berg will be hosting the African Public Library Summit on 18 Sept.
- In October, it’s Ghana’s turn as Accra hosts a three-day meeting on innovative library services. 15 Oct – 18 Oct.
- At the same time in Tanzania, researchers will be reporting on their studies of the perception of public libraries in Tanzania. 16 Oct – 17 Oct.
- For those eager to share their open access expertise, the Zimbabwe International Conference on Open Access is now accepting papers for the October meeting. 22 Oct – 23 Oct.
- Not to be outdone, Botswana is also hosting a national conference, the first ever presented by the Botswana Library Consortium. “Open Access drive and Digital Scholarship in Africa” will be 24 Oct – 25 Oct.
- And lastly, don’t forget Open Access Week is 22 October – 28 October.
"In the latest attempt to monopolise the name of an indigenous South African product, Swiss firm Catora AG has registered BILTONG as a trade mark and advertises “BILTONG ® LOW FAT HIGH IN PROTEIN”.
|Thorny issues in Switzerland|
Monday, 10 September 2012
BSA's premise, as far as IP is concerned, is that it provides the bedrock for innovation in the software industry by incentivising and protecting developers (and companies) to invest research and devlopment. Some of the benefits include accelaration of access to information and drugs in Africa (Afro Leo mentions these, in particular, because they are often cited as reasons why IP laws should be relaxed in the face of some of Africa's intense needs in these areas).
One of BSA's focus areas of late has been cloud computing. South Africa's readiness to take advantage of cloud based computing was assessed by the BSA along with 24 other countries that are estimated to account for 80% of global IT spend. RSA was the only country mentioned in Africa and fared 18 out of the 24 based on 7 criteria (privacy, cybercrime, cyber security, intellectual property, free trade, IT infrastructure and interoperability). The key findings were that (see full report here):
|RSA - partly cloudly with scattered showers|
- there are no specific regulations for cloud computing
- privacy legislation is not yet in place (there is legislation in process)
- IP legislation needs to be brought up to date
- domestic preferences for government procurement hinder free trade and technology interoperability
- there is no comprehensive plan or funding for expanding broadband infrastructure at this stage.
To understand the impact of cloud computing on IP and piracy one needs to assess what the cloud is and how it is delivered. One question which has been raised is whether cloud services (especially SaaS) is likely to reduce software piracy which currently prevails in one out of every three businesses in RSA, according to the BSA.
|understanding the cloud is not this traumatic! (Twister)|
- SaaS - software as a service - by far the most popular
- IaaS - infrastructure as a service
- PaaS - platform as a service
Cloud computing is estimated to attract around 8% of global IT spend in 2012, according to the BSA website. This spend is expected to increase by 25% in 2012 and byover 33% in 2013. We have already experienced the massive impact of the cloud in much of the technology that drives our smartphones and Linkedin is just one of many examples of services making use of the cloud.
When it comes to internet piracy sadly though, the cloud is expected to accelarate and proliferate the scurge in the following ways:
- Using the cloud to deliver illegal software - creating a Saas offering without a licence for redistribution
- Pirated software is used in a private clould model within enterprises
- Under licensing in a private cloud environnment
- Sharing/abuse of SaaS account credentials or hacking into SaaS
Thursday, 6 September 2012
This is perhaps a bit tangential to Intellectual Property. However, knowing that these two areas of law do collide and being familiar with the wide array of practice areas covered by most attorneys in Africa, this little Leo thought it could prove helpful to report on a recent program on Antitrust Enforcement in Africa.
The program, put together by the International Section of the American Bar Association [hooray for the US finally paying attention to African law!] featured a panel of speakers from eastern and southern Africa. Due to some poor phone connections and a too-long absence from Africa that made accents a bit challenging, some tasty morsels of information got away from Little Leo. Here are some highlights of the bits that were caught and adequately devoured.
- Joos Agenbach, Partner, Koep & Partners, Namibia
- Bexley Chinake, Senior Partner, Kantor & Immerman, Zimbabwe
- Sydney Chisenga, Partner, Corpus Legal Practitioners, Zambia
- Tamara Dini, Partner, Bowman Gilfillan, South Africa
- Christine Mweti, Partner, Coulson Harney, Kenya
- Iona Dhladhla, Partner, Bowman Gilfillan, South Africa (Moderator)
Kenya’s New Commission
Kenya has a fairly new Competition Act (2010, available via WIPO here). This act replaces, or at least takes some duties away from, the Monopolies and Prices Commission. (Little Leo thought she heard replaces, but isn’t sure due to above mentioned glitches in the call.) The Competition Act establishes a Competition Authority, which handles all the filings, investigations and etc. Although its has a website [Kingsley will be pleased], Christine Mweti mentioned during the program that there are still some appointment slots needing to be filled.
Although the Commission isn’t fully up and running, it has already started work with a successful enforcement against MultiChoice Africa and several other investigations currently in progress.
Namibia’s Rules on the Way
Namibia is also developing more robust antirust laws. With recommendations from consultants completed several months ago, the Namibian government is working on writing rules to give the Namibian Competition Commission, and those doing business in Namibia, more guidance on what is required for compliance with the Competition Act (presumably the Act of 2003, available here).
The new rules will set monetary thresholds for notifying the Commission about mergers. Currently, because there are no specified thresholds, the Commission must be notified of every merger. The specificities of the new rules will likely be a welcome change for those doing business in Namibia as violating the competition laws can cost a company 10% of its global turnover.
South Africa’s Competition Amendment Act Expected to Languish
South Africa passed an amendment to its competition act in 2009. The very controversial amendment is not in force yet and is not expected to be brought into force anytime soon. The amendment would introduce criminal liability for directors and managing employees of companies involved in cartel conduct. Other provisions detailing increased fines are speculated to be unconstitutional. Tamara Dini believes we will see changes to the South African Competition Act, but not via this amendment. (Act and amendment available here.)
The South African Competition Commission appears to be the most active in the region. Focusing on four priority areas, the Commission investigates complaints, reaches settlement agreements and decides contested cases. The Commission has also created a fast track option for leniency applications in the construction industry. Most cases settle, so there is not a lot of case law on prohibited practices.
Zambia Introduces Thresholds
Like Kenya, Zambia also has a fairly new act, the Zambian Competition and Consumer Act 24 of 2010. (Available for download from the Zambian parliament here.) Zambia’s new act establishes thresholds for dominance and control and introduces a leniency program that encourages cartel members to come forward.
The Competition Authority has not been very active in the last year as businesses filed few applications, waiting to see if political stability would continue post-election. When companies are considering a merger, they should meet with the authority for a pre-application meeting where they can gauge the acceptability of their merger plans.
Zimbabwe’s Competition Commission Highly Efficient
Zimbabwe may have had to amend its Competition Act more than usual due to hyper-inflation, but that hasn’t harmed its Competition Commission. The Commission, which has 90 days under the Act to review filings, usually has that review done within 30 days. And those are calendar days, not business days.
Bexley Chinake gave two examples of recent Commission enforcement successes. One was against a medical services group with a specialist unit in dialysis. The medical services group was refusing to pay for services performed at any dialysis centers that it did not own. This was found to be in violation of the Competition Act.
The second case was against the national power company. When Zimbabwe officially switched to using US Dollars as an accepted currency, the power company changed its customers’ bills into US Dollars. However, since the Zimbabwean Dollar’s inflation had been so out-of-hand, there was no real exchange rate and the power company picked seemingly random US Dollar amounts for the bills. Thanks to the Commissions enforcement activities, those bills were set aside.
Regional Similarities and What’s Coming in COMESA
Nearly every country represented here has public interest or consumer welfare as a factor in its competition law. Most common is a requirement for the governing body to look at the effect a merger will have on domestic employment. While these terms aren’t always well defined and have even been challenged in Namibia’s High Court, they are still important. Generally, these public interest factors are applied to mergers between companies already doing business within a country, but in its WalMart case, South Africa recently applied these factors to a company attempting to move into the South African market. (Wall Street Journal article on the case.)
COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is also talking competition law. Plans are in the work for a COMESA competition treaty. This treaty is expected to create a new body, the COMESA Competition Authority, by 2014. Rules and regulations for this new body are already being drafted. The most likely outcome of this new body would be that all mergers happening in the COMESA countries would now need to be dually notified to both the local authority and the COMESA authority.