IPKenya’s Weekly Round-up of Intellectual Property News from Africa

“…the vehicle (featured above) and systems are completely manufactured in South Africa and are 100% South African intellectual property” – Engineering News. (Read more about South Africa’s Husky 2G armoured route clearance vehicle here.)

Today is 1st September 2012 and from Lagos to Gaberone, intellectual property is alive and well. Today marks “No Music Day” in Nigeria, a collective initiative by stakeholders in the music industry aimed at raising awareness about respecting and protecting intellectual property especially in today’s era of copyright piracy. Meanwhile in Botswana, new regulations pursuant to the Industrial Property Act will take effect today. The highlight of these new regulations is the provision for pre-grant oppositions. Afro-IP with the full story here.

While Apple v. Samsung continued to dominate headlines this past week, IPKenya came across 3 unique African perspectives on this case and the patent system as a whole.
Strathmore Law School’s Centre for IP and ICT Law recently did a blogpost in which very compelling arguments were made against the commonly assumed impacts of patents namely: they will stifle innovation; they will make both devices more expensive, and they will force users over to Apple products. In addition, Werksmans, a law firm in South Africa, shared its thoughts on Apple and it’s “notorious” intellectual property disputes and ultimately the firm concludes that Apple’s win highlights the importance of adequate protection of intellectual property. Read the article here.
Finally, Pravin Bowry, a prominent Kenyan lawyer examined the Apple-Samsung case in a recent newspaper article and sought to bring out possible lessons for Kenya. In the stand-out bit of his article, he writes:

“The importance of Apple’s colossal award must underline the value of intellectual property which Kenyans are not exploiting. Kenyan inventions are not being patented due to the intricate provisions of the law.”

In other news, the Attorney General appointed 12 individuals to sit on KECOBO’s Board of Directors, which included some familiar faces like Dr. Rutenberg, Mr. Tom Mshindi and David Muriithi (aka DJ D-lite). The details of these appointments can be found here. Still with KECOBO, IPKenya has learnt that after 3 years of meetings, the Southern and Eastern Africa Copyright Network (SEACONET) has finally adopted a sample model copyright law for the region. More details to follow.

Back in South Africa, three very progressive court decisions were reached. The first case involved database protection under copyright law, the second case involved plant breeders’ rights and how ownership of propagating/harvested material can be passed. The third court decision was delivered last friday and has not been reported yet. However this particular case is promising because the judge found that Standard Bank and MTN had conspired to infringe the patent of a South African IT company “3MFuture”. As soon as the full case decision is reported online, IPKenya will certainly do the needful in the blogposts ahead.

Meanwhile back Kenya, Strategic Industries (manufacturer and distributor of the “Darling” hair brand) successfully moved the court to bar Solpia Kenya Limited, a rival from infringing on its [Strategic Industries’] trademark.

As a parting shot, IPKenya would like to encourage all African intellectual property enthusiasts to take part in a creative writing competition titled: “The best IP judgment that has never been written”, organised by the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP). The closing date for entries is 30 September 2012. Best of luck!

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