#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 24/08

RIP Kofi Annan

  • Kofi Annan 1938 – 2018 [UN News]
  • TIDAL and MTN Uganda partner to bring music streaming to African customers [Official]
  • Unlocking Disruptive Technologies and Local Knowledge for Climate Resilience [CIF]
  • How State intervention could boost the fortunes of Kenya’s pharmaceutical sector [Captain Obvious]
  • Court Stops DStv in Nigeria [tekedia]
  • Rwandans launch first delivery drones in Africa [Ventures Africa]
  • Kenya: Anti-Counterfeit Agency digitizes operations to tame rogue business practices [Standard]
  • South Africa: Where does graffiti stand when it comes to copyright? [BIZCommunity]
  • IIPA Claims That South Africa’s Copyright Reform Bill Would Make The Country Ineligible For AGOA Benefits [Infojustice]
  • Kenyan Banks Seek Regulatory Approval to Use Blockchain Tech [Bloomberg]
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: DST/NRF SARChI Research Chair: Intellectual Property, Innovation & Development [IP Unit]
  • Judges Wanted: Strathmore Law School ICT Moot 2018 [Volunteer Here]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other IP/ICT-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 03/08

China loves Africa Art by Michael Soi Kenya 2018

  • A Kenyan painter’s art questions China’s deepening reach in Africa [Quartz]
  • Implementing AfCFTA: When and How? [tralac]
  • Draft ICANN Africa Strategic Plan 2016-2020 Version 3.0 [Have Your Say]
  • How to sue a plagiarist – an opinion on the law and plagiarism [Stellenbosch]
  • Interesting end to Crown Hotel-Crowne Plaza Trade Mark Dispute [Addis Fortune]
  • South Africa: Fostering technology innovation [Cape Town]
  • Kenya: What happened to the boy who chased away the lions? [BBC]
  • Zambia: Government urges users to take up ZARRSO licences [IFRRO]
  • Ethiopia: New legislation for plant breeders’ rights [A+ Bunch of Lawyers]
  • African thought leaders on the Berkman Klein list of 2018-2019 Fellows [Harvard]
  • Vacancies: Development, Innovation & IP @ The South Centre [Apply Now]
  • WIPO Indigenous Fellowship Program [Deadline September 21, 2018]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 27/07

CISAC AFRICA COMMITTEE REGION 2018 DjGrq71XsAA8DYh

  • Improving creators’ royalty collections in Africa: CMOs gather in Abidjan for CISAC’s Africa Committee [Official]
  • Figures of the week: Africa’s energy innovation landscape [Brookings]
  • 5th Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest, Sept 27-29 Washington DC [Register Now]
  • Nigeria announces national airline, didn’t register domain names [iAfrikan]
  • South Africa’s Proposed Copyright Fair Use Right Should Be A Model For The World [InfoJustice]
  • Kenya: MCSK asks MPAKE to stop collecting royalties [Pot Calling Kettle]
  • Africa Has an ‘Uber’ Opportunity to Disrupt Farming Technology [AGRA]
  • Poor e-commerce policies slow the uptake in Africa [The Star]
  • How broke public universities can change fortunes [Captain Obvious]
  • Does the fourth industrial revolution call for a sui generis form of IP protection? [A+ Bunch of Lawyers]
  • Comesa to set up team on digital free trade area [East African]
  • Time for a Sui Generis Technology Importation Right? [Afro-IP]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 20/07

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  • Professor Calestous Juma Memorial Lecture: Public Policy Options for Science and Technology in Africa [Hashtag]
  • CBD and ITPGRFA commit to enhanced cooperation on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources [Official]
  • Global Innovation Divide: Can Investment In Innovation Bridge The Gap? [IPW]
  • Kenya is seizing the opportunity to protect individuals and their data [Privacy International]
  • Tobacco Plain Packaging: An oncoming trademark dispute in South Africa? [UCT IP Unit]
  • SAMPRA takes on SABC, IMPRA over needletime payout [MiA]
  • Power, Profit and Sport: The Real Legacy of the Football World Cup [Nakueira]
  • PAIPO – Concerns From A Brand Holder’s Perspective [africadotcom]
  • South Africa: Software Developers Pasop/Beware/Qaphela/Hlokomela [A+ Bunch of Lawyers]
  • Universal Music Launches Nigerian Division [Variety]
  • Big Pharma and Predatory Pricing of Birth Control [Bhekisisa]
  • Innovation Prize for Africa 2018: Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems [ICYMI]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 06/07

WIPO GII 2018 Dg3UBxgU8AAcHOu

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2018 to be released next week [You’re Invited]
  • What the WTO decision on plain packaging means for developing countries [devex]
  • Time for a bioeconomy in Africa [ICIPE]
  • How fab labs help meet digital challenges in Africa [The Conversation]
  • Lionel Messi: Image Rights, International Financial Flows, Tax Havens and its Impact on Africa and Kenya [Academia]
  • Uganda’s Troubling Social Media Tax [HRW]
  • Kenya’s Digital Taxi Services Paralyzed, Strike Enters 4th Day [VOA]
  • Comment on South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill Until 18 July [PEN SA]
  • On the 36th Session of the WIPO – IGC: An Interview with Professor Chidi Oguamanam [Flora IP]
  • Ghana’s Copyright Administrator ordered to release funds to Audio-Visual Rights Society [GNA]
  • Intellectual Property Issues in Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements [WIPO]
  • Governance Issues of Nigerian Music Collecting Society, COSON Continues [Afro-IP]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 29/06

First Volkswagen Assembled in Rwanda June 2018 DgsNALgXcAAGlJ_

  • The Continental Free Trade Area: A game changer for Africa [The East African]
  • Crunch Time at WIPO-IGC: A Last Attempt to Draft a New Genetic Resources Text? [ABS Canada]
  • Zimbabwe Launches National IP Policy & Implementation Strategy [AllThingsIP]
  • Ethiopia: Whose injera is it anyway? [Mail & Guardian]
  • Strengthening African Science [Project Syndicate]
  • South Africa: Marked improvements on the IP landscape [Lexology]
  • Google is throwing its weight behind artificial intelligence for Africa [Quartz]
  • Enabling intellectual property and innovation systems for South Africa’s development and competitiveness [Sibanda’s 2018 PhD Thesis]
  • Nigeria: Food Security In Africa: Is Genetically Modified Technology A Pathway? [Leadership]
  • Number of patents is a poor measure of innovation in ARIPO and Kenya [AfroIP]
  • Emojis and intellectual property law [WIPO Magazine]
  • Ten Years Later: Dismal Performance Scorecard for Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Agency [Captain Obvious]

For more news stories and developments, please check out #ipkenya on twitter and feel free to share any other intellectual property-related items that you may come across.

Have a great week-end!

Book Review: Intellectual Property and Innovation Law in Kenya and Africa by Prof. Ben Sihanya

sihanya

On 27th October 2016, Prof. Sihanya announced the arrival of his long-awaited book titled: “Intellectual Property and Innovation Law in Kenya and Africa: Transferring Technology for Sustainable Development”. The self-published tome is just shy of 700 pages which is not surprising since it rehashes Sihanya’s entire body of work dating back to his 1991 LL.B dissertation. Unapologetically, the self-proclaimed “Father of IP” uses his new book to trace his two decade-long journey of training, research and teaching in intellectual property (IP), complete with footnote references to private class materials from his studies at Warwick and Stanford in the 1990s. Despite all its quirks, the book stands out as the first serious attempt by an African scholar to discuss the development and challenges of IP law, innovation and technology transfer in Kenya. There is no doubt that the book has laid the foundation for future work in IP law across the country for generations to come.

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ARIPO States Not Yet Ready for WIPO Budapest Treaty on Patents Involving Micro-organisms

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Recently, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) held a seminar dubbed “Sub–regional seminar on the promotion and understanding of multilateral treaties in the field of patents: Paris Convention, Budapest Treaty and Patent Law Treaty (PLT)” hosted at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The focus of this blogpost is on the some of the issues arising around the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure.

As many may know, the Budapest Treaty was concluded in 1977 and has been open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). As at March 15, 2014, 79 States were party to the Treaty. Interestingly, there are only three African countries that have signed the Treaty, namely Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa – none of whom are ARIPO member states.

As many may know, the Treaty was intended to aid in disclosure requirement under patent law where the invention involves a microorganism or the use of a microorganism. Such inventions relate primarily to the food and pharmaceutical fields. Since such disclosure is not possible in writing, it can only be effected by the deposit, with a specialized institution, of a sample of the microorganism.
It is in order to eliminate the need to deposit in each country in which protection is sought, that the Treaty provides that the deposit of a microorganism with any “international depositary authority” suffices for the purposes of patent procedure before the national patent offices of all of the contracting States and before any regional patent office (if such a regional office declares that it recognizes the effects of the Treaty). The European Patent Office (EPO), the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) have made such declarations.

According to ARIPO’s press statement here, Director General Fernando dos Santos in his opening remarks “lamented the insignificant role that Africa is playing in global IP systems despite the fact that nearly every African state has enabling laws to facilitate its better placement in the global IP transactions and indicators.”
Dos Santos reportedly challenged member states to find their way into IP filings noting that according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2014, of the over 2 million patent lodgments made in 2013, Africa’s share was a mere 0.6% ─ with most of these 0.6% filings made in Africa emanating from the industrialized countries through the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

With that background in mind, this blogger suspects that most ARIPO member states
may not be ready to implement a Treaty such as the Budapest Treaty at present. Taking the Kenyan scenario for instance, local patent applications are very few and whilst Kenya may have no problem with the Treaty per se, it would be a cumbersome, expensive venture. For the foreseeable future, the real beneficiaries of the system under Budapest Treaty would be the developed countries since they remain ardent users of the patent system. Judging from the 3 countries that are signatories to the treaty, it is clear that capacity is a big impediment.

To highlight this issue of capacity, let us consider the “international depositary authority” provision under the Treaty. What the Treaty calls an “international depositary authority” is a scientific institution – typically a “culture collection” – which is capable of storing microorganisms. Such an institution acquires the status of “international depositary authority” through the furnishing by the contracting State in the territory of which it is located of assurances to the Director General of WIPO to the effect that the said institution complies and will continue to comply with certain requirements of the Treaty.

In this connection, it is important to note that there is no institution in Africa that has been recognised under the Treaty as a  “international depositary authority” whereas they are currently 42 such authorities in other countries worldwide including: seven in the United Kingdom, three in the Russian Federation, in the Republic of Korea, and in the United States of America, two each in Australia, China, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, and in Spain, and one each in Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

Initially Kenya proposed to sign the Treaty and had identified two depositaries i.e Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) however the main challenge seemed to be a lack of capacity in proper handling of the samples and the means to maintain the cultures or strains to the required standards.
Not to mention the increased costs and logistics involved in the coordination between the IP office and the depositaries.

Therefore this blogger reckons that Kenya and other ARIPO member states need to focus more on growing Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) in terms of utility model applications and other connected areas of industrial property protection. Thereafter, as the innovation space grows, one expects that there would be greater demand and push from local inventors in Kenya and other ARIPO member states to join the Budapest Treaty so to enjoy it’s benefits.

Quick Thoughts on “Zindua Cafe”: Safaricom’s New Idea Submission Portal

zindua cafe safaricom homepage

This week, Safaricom launched “Zindua Cafe”, an idea submission web portal which allows registered users to submit ideas, applications or prototypes to Safaricom Limited, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator. Once these submissions are made to Safaricom, the telecommunication giant will review them internally and send either a ‘interested’ or a ‘regret’ response to the user. If Safaricom is ‘interested’ in any submission, the user will be offered a non-disclosure agreement and commmercial contract governing Safaricom’s intended implementation of the submission.

Having taken Zindua Cafe for a test-run, this blogger has a few thoughts on Safaricom’s new innovation portal:-

1. Intellectual property (IP) advice: Zindua Cafe is an excellent source for unsolicited legal advice on IP rights protection. The portal reads in part: “We strongly recommend that you patent your idea or get your IP in place”. The portal then explains the distinction between WIPO, KIPI and KECOBO and provides links to their respective websites. In the case of IP- protected submissions, the terms of use on the portal clearly state that users “irrevocably grant Safaricom the unrestricted right or license to use any idea or material [submitted] for the purpose of improving it, assessing its viability and determining its progression to the next stage within the Innovation Cycle”. In this regard, users of the portal agree that such use by Safaricom under the above license “shall not be deemed a violation of the user’s rights or the rights of any third party or give rise to any claim based on such alleged violation.”

2. Proof of IP protection: Zindua Cafe requires users to disclose whether submissions are protected as patents, trade marks or copyright in addition to providing the registration numbers of any certificates received from WIPO, KIPI and KECOBO. Copies of these certificates must also be submitted by users. This is a really smart way for Safaricom to establish the extent of IP protection involved in all submissions made on the portal. More importantly, Safaricom is in a better position to determine what steps would be necessary to exploit and/or acquire any intellectual property rights in the submissions.

zindua cafe safaricom brewing ideas

3. What’s the big idea?: As part of the submission process, Zindua Cafe requires users to provide a name for the idea/product/service/solution and select the applicable industry from a list including Agriculture, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Financial Services, Health, ICT, Manufacturing, Retail, Transport, among others. This section also requires the users to describe the idea/product/service/solution in 200 characters as well as explaining the need/problem that will be solved by the idea. Finally, users are required to itemise any similar or competing ideas/products/services/solutions already in the market and explain why their submissions are better! This is a really smart way for Safaricom to reduce on the amount of time spent in meetings with people pitching their ideas.

So, what do the users get in return after going through this rigourous 3-step submission process? Nothing. The terms and conditions of use on the portal ensure that Safaricom is fully protected from any claims arising from users and third parties while imposing several obligations on users including indemnity to Safaricom, assurance to Safaricom of IP ownership, among others.

Following the Vodacom “Please Call Me” case in South Africa and the numerous IP infringement cases involving Safaricom here in Kenya, this blogger applauds the move to introduce Zindua Cafe particularly because of the emphasis the portal places on protection of IP by its users prior to submitting their creative and innovative ideas to Safaricom.

What remains to be seen is whether this new portal for brewing ideas will deter future innovators and creators from bringing IP-related suits against Safaricom.