Monday, 12 October 2009

MIP's Africa Focus 2009

Managing Intellectual Property has published its first ever Africa Focus:

Tanzania's IP changes are good for business - 3 leading East African IP lawyers from Mkon0 & Co (Nimrod E Mkono, Audax K Kameja and August N Mrema) describe how two recent legislative changes to their IP regime have allowed Tanzania to better comply with international standards and also, better fight against the considerable counterfeit problem experienced by the country. There remain several hurdles to effective implementation of the new legislation as discussed in the article. Nonetheless, the authors have invited IP rights holders to have confidence in the recent changes.

Africa must nurture home grow brands - David Haigh CEO Brand Finance sets out a case for why Africa needs to create brands. Afro Leo comments that robust IP regimes are required to protect such brands. Another reason why the efficient national registries and courts are crucial to the process.

Africa's good news story - respected African IP commentator and consultant at Spoor & Fisher (Jersey), Mac Spence, sets out what he describes (in qualified terms) as Good News ie the progress being made by the countries of the [African] region towards uniform and contemporary protection of IP rights. A useful bird's eye view.

SA's IP outsourcing advantage - Afro Leo (as Darren Olivier, director Bowman Gilfillan) examines how best trademark management can be outsourced and proffers South African firms as an outsourcing solution ahead of firms in popular India, and other destinations such as Thailand and New Zealand. He will be addressing a seminar in London on 2 December hosted by the South African High Commission on RSA's IP outsourcing advantage.

South Africa 1 - Ambush marketers 0 - Herman Blignaut - partner Spoor & Fisher - reports on a hot topic on this blog, namely RSA's legislation on ambush marketing and a review of current cases. The article is well compiled as he also describes the vast opportunities for South Africans from the FIFA event. Not everyone is supportive of the legislative changes though (albeit that they may support the event) - AFRO-IP's poll on the validity of FIFA's 74 RSA trade mark registrations for SOUTH AFRICA 2010 and WORLD CUP 2010 illustrated that readers overwhelmingly thought that they were not valid, and the blog commentary on the Eastwood Tavern case together with Roshana's insightful observations immediately below, make for an interesting debate - but perhaps only an academic one so close to the tournament but useful nonetheless as RSA fast becomes a favoured sports tournament destination.

Make the most of Africa's IP organisations - Wayne Meiring - director Spoor & Fisher outlines how the two regional African IP systems (OAPI and ARIPO) work and highlights some of their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the International System as it applied to African countries. A useful and well illustrated summary - Wayne cites the OAPI and ARIPO systems as being "reasonably effective" for registration purposes but that, for OAPI, the member countries "sorely lack the capacity to effectively police and enforce" and, for ARIPO, only Botswana has ratified the obligations of the system (a similar drawback to using IRs to cover African member states). "For this very reason, very few trade marks are filed in ARIPO...". Afro Leo notes though that Wayne's firm has filed two African Union trade marks to protect their name.

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