Monday, 28 December 2009

IP exposure in East Africa

A regional forum for policy makers in the English speaking developing countries of Africa commenced in Kampala, Uganda this month with a call to integrate intellectual property into the national development strategies. The meeting has attracted participants from South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and as far as China. The World Intellectual Property Organization meeting was opened by Uganda's State Minister for Justice, Parliament and Constitutional affairs, Fred Ruhindi. (AllAfrica)

Writing for BBC News and BBC Focus on Africa magazine, Pamela Whitby sets out the significant counterfeit goods problem affecting Africa. Her article entitled "Africa-dumping ground for counterfeit goods" asks the interesting question: "Do brand owners like Unilever have a responsibility to lower prices to the point where there is no market for counterfeit goods in Africa?" Unilever says price is not the issue - well, what do you think? Big brand owners face the risk of losing rights to counterfeiters and some (eg Microsoft's policy in Kenya) do use pricing to deter counterfeiters. Others, like drug company Pfizer, prefer to tackle the problem by educating consumers of the risks. Many use a combination of strategies. Afro Leo is particularly pleased that the BBC is covering the topic.

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