Nicky Garnett (Adams & Adams) has kindly responded to Afro-IP's call for information from the ARIPO Conference in Gabarone last week:
"..the meeting was an excellent opportunity for us to witness the inner workings of ARIPO and to gain a better understanding of the organisation and its current projects.
There were substantive discussions surrounding the domestication of the Harare and Banjul Protocols into the national laws of the various signatory states and a tacit acknowledgement by all the officials present that this must be done without delay in order to make the system more attractive to potential users. Joyce Banya from WIPO's Africa Bureau was in attendance as the Africa Bureau has been very active in assisting many of the member countries with improvements to their system and the development of national IP Policies. INTA's OAPI / ARIPO Committee also presented their preliminary report back on the work that they have been doing to obtain information about the trade mark laws in the ARIPO member states.
There is a growing sense that the ARIPO system is gaining ground and it seems to be growing in its capacity (with WIPO's assistance) to act as a regional intellectual property lobbying body and effect real and substantive improvements for the member states who wish to take advantage of the benefits of the organisation."
Yesterday Afro Leo took the unusual step of acknowledging the attorney who worked in a case before Supreme Court of Appeal. In previous posts he has tried not to for a number of reasons that will be explained, but not today. The reason for making specific reference to Nolwazi Gcaba is because she is South Africa's first black IP attorney to take a matter to the SCA. In most circumstances such an acknowledgement would not be necessary and probably even offensive. However, those that have followed the court decisions reported on in this blog, most notably demonstrated by the all white appearance of ANC and COPE's legal teams in their highly publicised and politically motivated trade mark spat, will have noticed the significant absence of colour in the top echelons of the IP world in South Africa. The achievement and those that have helped it occur should therefore be celebrated.