Friday, 17 February 2017

Afro Leo

Celebrating 40 years, ARIPO kickstart 2017 with pair of MOUs

ARIPO signed two significant agreements in February, paving the way for better economic growth and innovation in Africa.

According to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), Directors General Paulin Edou Edou (OAPI) and Fernando dos Santos (ARIPO) signed a four-year co-operation agreement on behalf of their organisations, following a three day seminar in Harare.

The formal accord will entail a streamlined approach toward harmonising their systems, providing technical assistance and taking common positions on IP policies. A joint commission will meet annually.

Another ground-breaking memo of understanding was signed with CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, who represent over four million creative the world over and are considered the global body for the protection of creative rights.

The two signed the agreement on February 14 at a ceremony in Harare, after the organisations recognised a need to further the creative and cultural potential of the African nations.

Royalty collections in Africa total US$68.6 million annually with potential for sharp growth. Studies in a few ARIPO nations (namely Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania) showed that creative industries contributed three to five percent of the GDP. Collections for creators grew almost 15% in 2015, yet amounts to less than one percent of the global collections report.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two bodies will see joint projects on strengthening copyright, technical exchange, education and training of organisations, as well as collecting revenue on behalf of creators.

ARIPO Director General Mr. Fernando dos Santos said the signed agreement should act as a catalyst for the African governments to continue supporting and promoting the creative industries.”

CISAC oversees a global network of 239 member societies in 123 countries. These include 36 members in 31 African countries. These organisations collect and distribute revenues and promote the interests of creators across five repertoire groups: music, audio-visual, drama, literature and visual arts.

See for more.
Bits & Bobs

Big shout out to Victor Nzomo (IPKenya blog) for guessing where Afro Leo found himself midweek. Gabon, you should go there! Happy Friday.

Look out for information on the Africa's largest ever copyright claim, coming straight to you via Afro-IP on Monday.

Thanks to those who voted on our rejuvenate poll (click here and then gaze right) - an overwhelming show of support. Much appreciated.


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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Afro Leo

Where in Africa is Afro Leo?

Bonjour fellow Africa travellers.

This week, I am surrounded by nature, with huge dunes that rise sometimes 200 meters and give life to a dense and humid forest, savannah and mangrove. In these wonderful surroundings, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas and colobus monkeys are free to enjoy the forest food. The animals are well protected here and buffalo, elephants and panthers live without fear of being poached.

Eroded white and red clay has created natural amphitheatres – or ‘cirques’- which are amazing to look at. I went up in a helicopter yesterday to view the animals and tonight I am going to the coastal strip to see the turtles that lay their eggs on the beach. Along this coastline is a lagoon where the world's highest number of islands in a river mouth can be found- more than 400 small outcrops.

This paradise is found in Africa’s least densely populated country and visitors have likened it to Costa Rica. You’ll also be interested to know that it is the home of a hallucinogenic called ‘Iboga’ which is seducing the Western world with its medicinal properties. Can you guess where am I?


It is situated on the equator

The home language is French

If I could see very far, I would be able to see Brazil
The first IP convention that this country signed was in 1962, the last in 2003
The African and Malagasy Intellectual Property Organization (OAMPI) was signed in the capital city
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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Afro Leo

Uncorked: Bogus booze on the rise and what’s being done…

The Relief Market in Nigeria, central Africa, is a hive of activity as vendors cook, clean and arrange their produce which ranges form dried fish to fresh herbs. Shoppers can also purchase their favourite tipple, but beware- the brandy in these stalls may not be the real thing. 

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria, NAFDAC, arrested nine suspects connected with alleged fake wine and beverage at the Relief Market in Onitsha, Nigeria last week.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the arrest of five males and four females, followed a “special raid and enforcement operation of the Federal Government’s ban on imported fruit juices”.

NAFDAC’s head of investigation, Kingsley Ejiofor, explained that those arrested in the Nigeria operation were involved in the bottling of counterfeit and dangerous drinks.

We came here for a special assignment to mop up all counterfeit and prohibited products which include imported fruit juices, food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, detergent and bottled water,” said Ejiofor.

He said they uncovered the illegal manufacture of dangerous chemicals being bottled with popular brand names.

According to Ejiofor said that popular brands of beverages like Hennessey, 501, Johnny Walker, Red Label whisky, Best Marula fruit cream, Pure heaven, Amarula, Baron De Vals, Eva and J&W, among others were being faked.

But the incidence of fake spirits and especially, fake wine, is global and becoming an increasing problem. Italy have become particularly adept at uncovering wine scams created to defraud both merchants and consumers.

In February 2016, Reuters reported that the gendarmerie confiscated 9200 bottles of Prosecco and a machine used to make the wrappers. The bust of mock bubbly was worth 350 000 euros on the street. Sham champagne has also received its fair share of publicity, resulting in strict IP laws governing the use of the term “champagne”.

Kate Jonker, general manager at the Cape Wine Makers Guild told Afro-IP that they now insist on holograms on the labels of all wine they handle.

For about two years now, we have been using holograms to identify the auction wines. The farmers also only print enough labels for their bottles in order to keep it tight and strict,” she says.

As an agent that sells and markets on behalf of their 47 members, the Guild represents wine-makers that have been producing out-standing wine for at least 5 years and each year new members are considered for membership.

Two years ago the wine world was shocked at the arrest of respected connoiseur, Rudy Kurniawan who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being exposed for millions of dollars worth of wine fraud.

He created the impressive collection using empty bottles and refilling them with a similar product and re-corking. Over 500 bottles of his “fake” wine were destroyed after he was imprisoned.

Bloomberg reported recently that new ways of bottling wine are being used to combat potential fraud, which often involves replicating labels or using old bottles.

These innovative techniques, allow each bottle a unique fingerprint that can be scanned for verification. The “bubble tag” is a sticker that is placed over the cork and the glass with a random bubble design. Many also emboss the base of their bottles with the wine farm name to further authenticate the contents.

The reported in November 2014 that French newspaper Sud Ouest estimated that 20% of global wine sales were fake wines- predominantly linked to the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions in France.

If the specialists and connoiseurs can’t tell the difference between an authentic and a fake wine- how is the man on the street supposed to know?” says Jonker. She suggests only buying wine from authorized dealers or trusted suppliers, or straight from the wine farm itself.

Jonker also warns that investors should be aware of how wine has been stored before they buy it.

A site dedicated to the elimination of international wine counterfeiting,, holds courses for interested parties who want to learn more about counteracting the problem. They focus on labels, printing, corks, bottling glass and even the glue used to affix labels.

Ejiofor warned the public after the Nigerian arrest to “destroy cups, plastics or bottles after use because not doing so encourages these illegal producers. Retailers and consumers should also issue and collect receipts for every product purchased to enable tracking,” he said.

Afro Leo suggests that wine producers should also combat the problem using traditional IP techniques. An advanced trade mark and (where possible, copyright) filing program should be undertaken. This may include the labels and shapes of the bottles, as well as the word marks including those in the services classes. Regional protection for geographical indicators should be considered too and filings should be made at customs to enable swift enforcement. These programs should include export, defensive and source markets for products. There have been stories of fake vineyards in China, for example.
It's a significant problem for Africa whose wine regions rank amongst the best in the world.
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Monday, 13 February 2017

Afro Leo

Calling for submissions for the AJIP 2017

Time is running out for submissions toward the bi-annual African Journal of Intellectual Property (AJIP) Volume 1 Number 2 due to be published in May/June 2017. Interested contributors have until February 28 to file their papers.

Published by Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance (CBPLG) in collaboration with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), the journal seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the importance and role of diverse intellectual property rights in promoting development and growth from universities, research institutions, legal practice, administrative bodies, the judiciary and other sectors.

The journal offers professionals a platform to publish research in core IP subjects including patents, copyright, designs, trademarks, traditional knowledge written by are invited for publication.

The journal is a response to the growing need for access to research in diverse aspects of IP in Africa. According to ARIPO, It welcomes exploration into intellectual property laws and policies relating to all issues including health, education, food security, the environment in order to fill a gap in existing academic journals through interdisciplinary IP research.

Submissions should be between 2 500 and 4 000 words and will be peer-reviewed through a double-blind process focussed on accuracy, relevance and suitability. Only original work that is not being considered for publication elsewhere will be appraised. Mail attachments in Microsoft Word Format to Mr M. Mtetwa, Managing Editor, on For more on manuscript preparation, visit
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Friday, 10 February 2017

Darren Olivier

Taking credit for the good in SONA 2017

Two years ago Afro-Leo got stuck in to the SONA 2015 address by Jacob Zuma. For our international readers, SONA refers to the "State of the Nation Address" by South Africa's president. RSA's annual health check.

At the time Afro Leo lamented the lack of attention to IP in that address. Like a doctor failing to check sugar levels. The post listed five reasons why IP should have at least deserved a mention and invited JZ to reach out to the blog for some assistance with the address in future.

Despite high hopes JZ did not reach out to Afro-IP but his SONA 2017 speech last night reveals five notable clues that the Afro-IP 2015 post made it into his "SONA prep notes 2017" folder:
  1. In the first 15 odd paras of the address there is much reference to South Africa's rich and important history. The freedom fighters, the famous Hector Peterson photograph by Sam Nzima, and even Delville Wood. The focus on heritage preservation has been part of the national IP agenda, if not by JZ then by his King, Goodwill Zwelethini, for some time. Afro-IP's latest post highlights this development as did the 2015 SONA post.
  2. Addressing unemployment by focussing on creative industries and IP commercialisation suggested in the 2015 post, finds mention in the 2017 address:
    "We are also happy that musicians and actors amongst others heeded our call to unite and have formed the Creative Industries Federation of South Africa. The Presidency has established the Presidential Creative Industries Task Team to support our artists." [ed: boom]
    "The Department of Science and Technology will finalise the Sovereign Innovation fund, a Public private funding partnership aimed at commercialising innovations that are from ideas from the public and the private sectors" ..." I am also happy to announce that the state-owned pharmaceutical company, Ketlaphela, has been established."
  3. The importance of assistance in the agricultural sector using skills (hopefully those of displaced famers with knowhow suggested in the 2015 post) "We introduced the Agri-Parks programme, aimed at increasing the participation of small holder farmers in agricultural activities." [ed: nice]
  4. JZ acknowledges the need to make South Africa an attractive investment prospect by focussing on infrastructure to support business (eg the IP Office - CIPC) "We have heard the points about the need to create the correct investment support infrastructure [ed read about them on Afro-IP's SONA 2015 post]. We need to empower SMMEs to accelerate their growth. Access to high-quality, innovative business support can dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures."
  5. The address does not mention IP. Clearly that would have been too much of a giveaway. Like can feeding Afro Leo. A highly controversial idea which is, in any event, not in Afro Leo's best health interests. A lion with a boep can't hunt for IP morsels across Africa effectively and JZ gets credit for that omission.
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