#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: 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!

ARIPO Copyright Office Publishes Survey Findings on Status of African Collective Management Organizations

aripo member states map africa intellectual property regional organization copyright CMO survey

On the eve of its 40th anniversary, the Harare-based African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has recently published the findings of a survey on collective management organisations (CMOs) conducted among its member states. A copy of the survey is available here. In the foreword, ARIPO Director General Mr. Fernando Dos Santos explains that:

“The findings [of the survey] indicate that CMOs in the ARIPO Member States are growing in numbers. It was also found that there is growth in collections of royalties and distributions. However, CMOs are also facing challenges which include insufficient or lack of awareness of copyright laws by users and the general public, users’ unwillingness to pay royalties, piracy of the copyrighted works, inadequate resources and manpower within the CMOs and inadequate availability of technologies that can be used by the CMOs.”

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Quick Recap from the 39th Session of ARIPO Administrative Council and 15th Session of ARIPO Council of Ministers in Lusaka, Zambia

ARIPO Kahinda Otafiire Chair Council of Ministers Margaret Mwanakatwe Nov 2015 Lusaka Zambia

Hon Kahinda Otafiire (outgoing Chair Council of Ministers) handing over to the Incoming Chair Council of Ministers Hon Margaret Mwanakatwe – Lusaka, Zambia November 2015

Readers may know that last week the 39th and the 15th Sessions of the Administrative Council and Council of Ministers of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) respectively, took place in Lusaka, Zambia.

Zambia’s Minister of Commerce Margaret Mwanakatwe opened the 39th Session which saw Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) Chief Executive Officer Anthony Bwembya take over as Chairperson of the ARIPO Administrative Council.

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Recap of WIPO African Sub-Regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright

WIPO African Sub regional Workshop New perspectives on copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization in cooperation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization Harare Zimbabwe July 2015

This week, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) hosted the WIPO African Sub-regional Workshop on New Perspectives on Copyright organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 20 – 21 July 2015.

The Workshop drew Heads of Copyright Offices in the ARIPO Member States and some Observer States who took part in this crucial Workshop aimed at discussing the management of Copyright and Related Rights in the face of new challenges emanating from new digital technologies. Also in attendance were copyright officials from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago who shared their experiences with their African colleagues.

What follows is a summary of the presentations made by the various participants at the Workshop.

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ARIPO Adopts Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

Ghana signs Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 2015 ARIPO

The ARIPO Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants has been adopted by the Diplomatic Conference that was held in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania on July 6-7, 2015. Hence the name of the adopted Protocol is: Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. A copy of the Arusha Protocol is available here.

According to ARIPO, the Arusha Protocol seeks to provide Member States with a regional plant variety protection system that recognizes the need to provide growers and farmers with improved varieties of plants in order to ensure sustainable Agricultural production. Eighteen Member States of the Organization were represented at the Diplomatic Conference namely; Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Constitutionalisation of Intellectual Property in Africa: Some Experiences from Kenya

KENYA-CONSTITUTION-KIBAKI

This month’s edition of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publication “WIPO Magazine” contains an article on Egypt and Tunisia’s new constitutions which ‘recognize the importance of the knowledge economy and intellectual property (IP) rights’. This article by one Ahmed Abdel-Latif titled: “Egypt and Tunisia Underscore the Importance of IP” reads in part:

“For the first time, the constitutions of these two countries provide for the protection of IPRs although in different ways. In both constitutions, the wording is succinct: the Egyptian Constitution stipulates that the “State shall protect all types of intellectual property in all fields” (Article 69) and the Tunisian Constitution indicates that “intellectual property is guaranteed” (Article 41).”

In addition, the article notes that ‘both constitutions contain a number of clauses on the protection of culture, health, and heritage which can influence both the interpretation and implementation of the IP rights clauses’.

With regard to the “challenge of implementation” of the IP rights clauses in the two constitutions, the article astutely points out that:-

“(…) ultimately the manner in which these clauses are implemented through national laws and judicial decisions will be critical in ensuring that a balanced approach to IP protection is adopted; one which takes into account the level of development of each country and one which is supportive of their respective public policy objectives.”

At this juncture, it may be instructive for this blogger to share some views on Kenya’s experiences thus far with constitutionalised IP protection since it begun in 2010. The pre-2010 Constitution of Kenya did not capture concerns on innovation and IP. In that Constitution, sections 70 and 75 capturing the Bill of Rights provided substantive property guarantees limited to real property as opposed to technological innovations, cultural innovations and IP. However in 2010, there was a paradigm shift which resulted in the promulgation of a new Constitution. This new social contract expressly protects IP, innovation and technology transfer. For the first time in Kenya’s history, IP norms were constitutionalised. First, Article 260 (c) includes IP in the definition of “property”. Secondly, Article 40 (5) obliges the State to support, promote and protect the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya. In the same breath, Article 69(1) (c) and (e) mandates the State to protect and enhance intellectual property, traditional or indigenous knowledge of biodiversity and the genetic resources of the communities and protect genetic resources and biological diversity.

Under Article 11(1), the Constitution recognises culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation. And mandates the state to promote all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage; recognise the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation; and promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

Parliament is also mandated to enact a law to ensure that communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their cultures and cultural heritage. This legislation should also be passed which recognise and protects the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics and their use by the communities of Kenya.

So far, it appears that the judicial branch of government has risen to the challenge of implementation of the constitutional IP provisions, with due deference to the executive branch aptly represented by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA). Notable court decisions directly related to constitutional IP protection include the Patricia Asero case (previously discussed here, here and here), the Digital Migration case (previously discussed here and here – this matter is currently before the apex court, Supreme Court of Kenya), the Sanitam case of 2012 (previously discussed here).

Away from the courts, KECOBO and KIPI are leading an inter-ministerial taskforce on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Genetic Resources. This taskforce has already finalised work on a draft Bill on the protection of TK and TCE (previously discussed here and here). In the meantime, several state agencies dealing with IP have held consultative forums to develop a National IP Policy (previously discussed here). Still within the Executive, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts has established a multi-stakeholder committee to finalise work on a draft National Music Policy (previously discussed here and here). It is hoped that the forthcoming merger of KIPI, KECOBO and ACA (previously discussed here, here and here) will increase the Executive’s capacity to spearhead the implementation of the various constitutional provisions relating to IP.

All in all, the road from adaptation to full realisation of constitutionally guaranteed IP protection is long, arduous and involves several levels of engagement.

#ipkenya Weekly Recap of Intellectual Property News from Around Africa

This week, IPKenya focused on South Africa’s recently released Copyright Review Commission Report and shed light on some of the emerging issues surrounding copyright administration of collecting societies both in the South and in Kenya. The post is available here.

Here are some of the other important IP-related stories IPKenya came across this past week:

– “Should Colour be Registrable as a Trade Mark in Kenya?” [Strathmore CIPIT Blog]

– Kenya: local artiste DNA sues bank for copyright infringement and passing-off [The Standard]

– “South African photographer – images tell a story, but who owns the copyright?” [Adams & Adams]

– Zambia: Patent and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) Reviewing Intellectual Property Laws [The Times]

– Kenya: “State warned on ditching copyrighted software” [The Standard]

– Nigeria: Intellectual property rights to get federal government protection [The Business Day]

– “Medals, Models & Moguls” – IP Rights and Fashion Roundup [Stellenbosch Chair of IP]

– Kenya: “Why companies need intellectual property policies” [The Business Daily]

– South Africa: Rev. Abe Sibiya appointed new chairman of SAMRO [SAMRO]

– Africa’s largest collecting society changing from company limited by guarantee to a cooperative? [YouTube]

– “The GAP Widens…” – Ownership and use of the GAP trade mark in South Africa [Spoor & Fisher]

– “Kenya’s M-PESA technology & emerging intellectual property issues” [Cayman Financial Review]

– South Africa: “Patently Wrong – The jury’s verdict in Apple v Samsung” [Stellenbosch IP Chair]

– “Climate change and adaptation in Africa: evidence from patent data” [TradeMark Southern Africa]

– Kenya: Safaricom seeks out-of-court deal in copyright dispute. [The Business Daily]

– South Africa: “CRC Report 2011: DALRO licensing agreements” [Copyright & Education]

Finally, for all IP enthusiasts in Kenya, please note that there’s an upcoming IP Check-in Session on 13th October 2012 at Strathmore University. The discussion topic will be “Cultural Expressions and Traditional Knowledge: Protection Mechanisms, Modalities of Management and Commercialisation, for Community Benefit”
IPKenya urges you all to mark this date on your calendars, come prepared to brainstorm and share ideas on how we should develop this potentially fourth branch of IP in Kenya.

Constitutional Review and Intellectual Property Rights: Zambia’s Bold Step Forward

IPKenya recently found time to peruse the First Draft Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, published on 30th April 2012 by the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution.

Read the full draft Constitution here.

News reports indicate that Zambia is in the process of reviewing its Constitution and that Zambians have been given a deadline of 20 July 2012 to engage with this 272-paged draft Constitution and submit comments to Technical Committee.

IPKenya has come across the following provision in the draft Constitution:

Language and Culture.

Art. 63

4) The State shall-
(…)
(b) recognise the role of science, technology and indigenous technology in the development of the Nation; and
(c) support, promote and protect the intellectual property rights of the owner, or the people of Zambia.

5) Parliament shall enact legislation to-

(a) ensure that communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their biological knowledge, medicinal plants and cultural heritage; and
(b) recognise and protect the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics. (…)

Comment

“To promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times and authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” – Article 1, Section 8 of the American Constitution.

IPKenya strongly believes the current process of constitutional review in Zambia affords our Southern neighbours a unique opportunity to examine in what ways socio-economic development may be constitutionally facilitated. Intellectual Property (IP) protection has achieved increasing recognition as a necessary pre-requisite to innovation-led economic growth.

Today, land, as real property, plays less significant role in development and global competitiveness. Therefore, ICT like software, the internet and e-commerce; new materials like fibre optics and super conductors and biotechnology and environmentally sound technologies are the key contributors to development.

It was this realisation that led Kenya in its new Constitution promulgated in August 2010 to recognise and expressly protect IP, innovation and technology transfer. For the first time in Kenya’s history, IP norms have been constitutionalised. Zambia seems to be heading in this very direction and in fact some of the above provisions appear to have been lifted almost verbatim from Articles 11(2), 40 (4), 69(1) (c) and (e) of the Kenyan Constitution.

IPKenya recalls when the draft Kenyan Constitution was being debated, a site called Techdirt published an article: “Why Kenya’s Attempt To Put Intellectual Property Rights In Its Constitution Is A Mistake”. Fortunately, most Kenyans did not buy into Techdirt’s outlandish arguments that entrenching IP rights into the Constitution amounted to protectionism. In contrast, IPKenya would encourage Zambia to ensure that intellectual property rights remain in its constitutional drafts until their new supreme law is finally promulgated.

In particular, IPKenya believes that the wording of the Article 63(4)(c) of the draft Constitution is significant in that it recognises that IP can be owned either by an individual or jointly by the people of Zambia:

“The State shall support, promote and protect the intellectual property rights of the owner, or the people of Zambia.” (my emphasis)

This provision, if passed into law, will be the basis upon which local creators and inventors can ensure their IP rights are respected and protected.

It will also assist Zambians in dealing with misappropriation and misuse of traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources, particularly in agricultural, environmental and pharmaceutical biotechnology.

Will the mere recognition of intellectual property rights in Zambia’s Final Constitution be an end in itself? IPKenya says no! There will be need for the government, the private sector and all interested parties to do more towards the realisation of the full economic potential in intellectual property. In this connection, IPKenya recalls sharing his thoughts on the controversial article: “You Lazy (Intellectual) African Scum!” which was focussed on Zambia but could easily be related to many other African countries. Throughout Africa, works of intellectual property are constantly created and invented but what is lacking is a robust legal and institutional framework to provide awareness, protection and enforcement IP rights.

Recently, Afro Leo highlighted a disturbing judgment by the Zambian Supreme Court in the case of DH Brothers Industries (Pty) Limited v Olivine Industries (Pty) Limited, which purported to deny trademark owners rights to unregistered marks contrary to the Zambian Trade Marks Act.

If Article 63 of the draft Zambia Constitution were to be passed, IPKenya argues that such a court decision could be successfully challenged as being unconstitutional.

In the months ahead, the long road to legal and institutional reforms for Zambia hang in the balance as Zambians craft a new constitutional dispensation which will hopefully usher in a new dawn for intellectual property rights in the Southern African country.