#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 17/08

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“M1L3L3” is “MILELE”, a Swahili word which means “Forever”

  • Call for Articles – African Journal of Intellectual Property [Deadline Next Month]
  • Respect for IP – Growing from the Tip of Africa: International Conference [Registration Open]
  • Video: Using blockchain to prevent counterfeit drugs in Kenya [IBM Research]
  • The African music industry is gaining global interest [Axios]
  • Encourage imitation to boost creativity in Kenya [Captain Obvious]
  • Why India’s IP policy needs a South African tweak [The Hindu]
  • Adeokin v. MCSN: No CMO licence required for an exclusive licensee of copyright to enforce its licence [The 1709 Blog]
  • In Case You Missed It: Kenya Patent Office is Publishing List of Expired KE Patents [Big 4 Agenda]
  • South Africa: Department of Trade and Industry Film Incentive [DTI]
  • The New Face of Creative Commons in Kenya [Shameless Plug]
  • South Africa: IP Management and the Commercialization of Publicly Funded Research Outcomes [WIPO]
  • Kenya: Request for Comments on the Proposed Privacy and Data Protection Policy and Bill, 2018 [Deadline Next Month]

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!

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The New Face of Creative Commons in Kenya

Elizabeth Oyange By Rori! Comics for UnCommon Women, CC BY

The inaugural meeting of the Creative Commons (CC) Kenya Chapter was held on 25 July 2018. This meeting marked the transition of the CC community in Kenya into a CC Country Chapter. A key agenda item was the election of several officials to manage the affairs of the CC Kenya Chapter. As readers of this blog may know, the Creative Commons community in Kenya was previously organised using an ‘Affiliate’ model with two Leads, a Public Lead (based at CIPIT – Strathmore University) and a Legal Lead (based Kenya Law i.e. National Council for Law Reporting).

Under the new structure, the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) co-ordinates and provides leadership in the global CC movement. The Global Network Council (GNC) is the governing and decision-making body of the CCGN. It consists of elected representatives of all CC Country Chapters and representatives from CC HQ. CC Chapters serve as the central coordinators of the work of the individuals and institutions participating within a country in support of the CCGN. As such, all those interested in becoming members of CC must register here either as Network Members or Network Partners (for Institutions) and belong to a Country Chapter.

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Behold, The Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum and Technical Working Group

Kenya Gazette July 2018 Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum and Technical Working Group Ministry Industry Trade

The recently formed Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade clique sounds like it could have been a WhatsApp group. In last Friday’s Kenya Gazette, the Minister at the time announced the establishment and appointment of both an Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Executive Forum (23 members in total) and an Inter-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Technical Working Group (24 members in total). The Executive Forum and Technical Working Group are apparently expected to deliver on the President’s Big 4 Agenda pillar of enhancing manufacturing so that the sector contributes 15% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 9.2% in 2016.

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#ipkenya Weekly Dozen: 29/06

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  • 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!

Ten Years Later: Dismal Performance Scorecard for Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Agency

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In 2008, Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) was birthed as Kenya’s TRIPS-plus experiment to spearhead intellectual property (IP) rights enforcement by coordinating efforts among various state agencies. In our humble opinion, ACA deserves no score higher than 3/10 for its performance in fulfilling its overall statutory mandate in Kenya.

It was envisioned that ACA would be a shining example of an inter-agency approach to IP rights enforcement with private sector coordination. Ten years later, it is safe to say that ACA has failed to live up to its potential. The reason? Two words: Institutional Corruption.

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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.