Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Who picks the bill for IP education?

I have for long wondered who should actually pick the bill for IP education and enforcement in Africa.

The article by Wayne Meiring here also commented on by Darren here have both reminded me of this dilema.

In most Sub Saharan African countries, the national budget has little if any appropriation that is Intellecual property related. In the recent past some governments have appropriated funds to strengthen support to standards authorities. However, this effort still falls short of what is required to stem the growth in trade of counterfeits.

This then begs the question; should a percentage of the fees paid for trademark or patent registration go to a specific IP fund to support IP education and enforcement? This in my view would help in ascertaining how much the registration systems actually collect vis a vis funds required as direct support from Governments. There is the controversial issue of whether Private companies should be allowed to support specific public sensitisation campaigns against counterfeits while at the same time promoting their brands.

Getting opinions on this issue will most certainly help in knowing who and how public sensitisation of IP can be done.

1 comment:

Dyebo said...

Hi,

I guess my concern is with the underlying assumptions as to the leevl and scale of government responsibility to support rightsholders against alleged infringers. So, for example, beyond providing a venue for the resolution of commercial disputes between commercial actors, how much more should government do, given limited funds. We should be clear that these are private rights and a case has to be actually made for how essentially subsidizing private actors in enforcing their commercial interests against other actors in is the interests of public welfare. Which is not to say there should be zero government funding for enforcement, just that the public interest case, except perhaps in the case of medicines, has yet to be made.

Dalindyebo Shabalala