Tuesday, 30 June 2009
This is only a short article, but it makes for a pleasant change to read something with a confident, upbeat tone to it after all the usual miserable features about counterfeits.
Monday, 29 June 2009
"Silverbird is taking bold steps in the African retail entertainment market and the cinemas are legal and legitimate in terms of copyright and intellectual property rights, to ensure quality and security of what is put out there for Ghanaians on the silver screen." (Ghanaweb)
Silverbird Group is a wholly Nigerian owned company established in 1980, to provide contemporary family entertainment. It operates in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. The tremendous growth of the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) as well as its severe piracy problems are well documented (see for example: Afro-IP here). For Ghana, the move by Silvergroup will test its IP laws and enforcement regime. Silverbird's experiences in Nigeria at countering the piracy threat will be helpful although this blog wonders if they have any trust in IP laws at all, given the state of the crisis so often reported out of Nigeria.
Friday, 26 June 2009
"The author must be commended on his novel idea of avoiding the restrictions in the Intellectual Property Rights From Publically Financed Research and Development Act ("the IPR Act"). As the Act is in force, it must be complied with. However, Roux’s suggestion of licensing IP created under the IPR Act could prove to be the first effective solution; as opposed to sceptics who simply voice their objections but proffer no practical answers. Licensing partners (preference of which should be given to local organisations) would have to agree to non-exclusivity. Roux's suggestion is that, to ensure that maximum commercialisation takes place, the licensing partner pay an upfront fee so that there is opportunity cost and risk involved. Furthermore, the licensing should be given some say as to how the IP is brought to market. In this way interest is maintained and the IP is treated accordingly.
While this is a good suggestion, it is not without its own set of problems. Could a licence really be formulated in such a way that both public and private interests benefit? With local organisations being the focus; what is the position of/benefits for an international investor? Will a licence be an effective means of achieving the set out objectives in the IPR Act? How easy would it be to control and enforce the licence agreement?"
The IPR Act is under the microscope in South Africa (see for instance Andrew Rens' blog posts here challenging the Act as eg unconstitutional ). This blogger is due to advise a client next week on how best to make use of the Act and finds these comments extremely valuable. Afro Leo's comments to follow then...
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
The September issue will be available to all Managing Intellectual Property subscribers from September 1 and will also be distributed at several IP conferences, including the Brand Protection Show and the MARQUES, IPO and AIPPI annual meetings. For more information about the focus, and for any editorial/advertising enquiries, contact MIP's Harry Loweth.
Afro Leo is pleased to see that Africa has at last been recognised as being worth focusing on. He promises to report on the contents of the focus for the benefit of his readers.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
...and for a discussion a why service marks are recognised in Nigeria but not yet, it seems, in Uganda see the commentary on Jeremy's post here below.
Monday, 22 June 2009
The Newvision Newspaper in Kampala reports that Microsoft, the Seattle based software giant has hired Kampla Associated Advocates, one of Uganda's largest law firms to pursue companies that are illegally using its range of software products.
According to one of the lawyers involved, the fight will target "the downloading of unauthorised software; counterfeiting, the unauthorised manufacture and distribution of software and manufacturer piracy, the unauthorised pre-installation of software by manufacturers into computers" among others.
This action comes amidst growing hope on the side of copyright owners that the Copyright & Neighboring rights Act, 2006 will soon be implemented. Whereas increased copyright litigation and prosecution per se will not prevent widespread infringement, it is believed the culture of respecting intellectual property will start gaining recognition.
Power of attorney legalized.
Extract from Commercial register legalized.
At the time of registration, the applicant must submit, on its letterhead, an affidavit stating that there has been no change in the ownership or details of the owner. (Source: NJQ & Associates)
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Thursday, 18 June 2009
* local legalisation of foreign-originated documents is no longer required. This saves official fees ranging from LD25 to LD120 (around €20 - €80), depending on the country of origin.
* no longer is there any need for a revised and certified translation of such documents. This saves certifying fees of Euro 55 per document.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
A press release from WIPO today announced approval of Director General Francis Gurry’s proposal for the new members of the Senior Management Team. The current members’ terms end on November 30th this year. The new terms will last until November of 2014.
The Management Team is comprised of four Deputy Director Generals and three Assistant Director Generals who help the Director General in managing WIPO. Two of the current team members are returning, including the only African member, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria. Mr. Onyeama is currently an Assistant Director General, but will serve his next term as a Deputy Director General. The other returning member is Ms. Binying Wang of China, also switching from Assistant to Deputy.
The complete list of new members and their positions is as follows:
- Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria to be Deputy Director General for Development
- Mr. James Pooley of the United States to be Deputy Director General for Patents [currently a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP]
- Ms. Binying Wang of China to be Deputy Director General for Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indicators
- Mr. Johannes Christian Wichard of Germany to be Deputy Director General for Global Issues [currently Germany’s Director General for Commercial and Economic Law]
- Mr. Trevor C. Clarke of Barbados to be Assistant Director General for Copyright and Related Rights [currently Barbados Ambassador to the UN in Geneva]
- Mr.Ramanathan Ambi Sundaram of Sri Lanka to be Assistant Director General for Administration and Management [currently WHO’s Director General for Operational and Support Services]
- Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi of Japan to be Assistant Director General for Global IP Infrastructure [currently WIPO Executive Director for Global IP Infrastructure, the WIPO Academy and Information Technology]
Outgoing members include Philippe Petit of France, Narendra Sabharwal of India, Michael Keplinger of the United States and Ernesto Rubio of Uruguay.
For a review of how this story has unfolded, the posts South Africa: Content Industry Marches and South Africa: Content Industry v SABC will be useful.
The Mail & Guardian carries the front page headline: SABC Implodes and Screenafrica.com has published the SABC's reply.
Co-incidentally this all happens as South Africa remembers its June 16 1976 Soweto Uprising with a national holiday.
Turning to the SABC reply dealing with intellectual property, pasted from ScreenAfrica for your convenience with comments, below:
"3. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The Corporation takes the issue of intellectual property quite seriously [quite seriously!! an answer bound to incense the TVIEC] , which is why the SABC has funded research around this matter [what matter? Is this research or advice for SABC as a client? Afro Leo remembers the post "when is a failure to exploit, exploitation? which appears to be related"] A report was received in April with recommendations, and the report was shared with the Production Industry [If anyone has a copy please share it].
We are expecting the Industry to interrogate this report, and the IP subcommittee exists to deal with these issues arising from the report. An Indaba also needs to be finalized with all stakeholders such as the SABC, Production Industry and Government being involved to engage the matter. [sounds cumbersome] It must be stressed that it is not the SABC’s sole responsibility to deal with this matter [the SABC's own policy on IP ownership?!], but together with the Industry we need to approach government for assistance and guidance." [guidance - readers will recall that the govt is still suffering embarrassment by attempting, unsuccessfully, to protect and enforce what they claim to be their own intellectual property - egs include the "Springbok emblem" and "Congress of the People" disputes]
Altogether a vague and unsatisfactory response that is unlikely to appease the TVIEC. However, it does create the possibility that SA's copyright laws may be under scrutiny by the government quite soon.
Monday, 15 June 2009
For the link to the Press Release click : http://samroblog.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/cisa1june.pdf
Friday, 12 June 2009
With regard to patents, the panelists propose measures such as boosting generic competition to reduce the cost of drugs and using flexibilities such as compulsory licences, whereby governments authorize production of drugs without permission from the patent holder.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
In declining to set aside the High Court order, Court of Appeal Judges Riaga Amollo, Emannuel O’Okubasu and Phillip Waki ruled that the application was incompetent as it was filed under the wrong rules. In the application Delta connection argued that it did not infringe the trademark since it had started its operation in Kenya in 2004, before the US Airline registered the Trade Mark.
The American Airline, which is about to establish direct flights to Kenya moved to the High Court early this year in March and obtained the order restraining the Kenyan company from using the mark.
Following the Court of Appeal ruling the Kenyan Company has changed its name to D-Connection and is reported to have asked the government to harmonize the Companies Act and the Trade Marks Act because of “conflict between the two laws”. According to the airline’s sales Manager, the company will spend about Ksh. 10 Million in the re-branding exercise to comply with the court order. The company will however continue with the main appeal.
Blue Band (margarine)
Coca-cola (Soft drink)
Mercedes Benz (vehicles)
Kimbo (cooking fat)
Daily Nation (newspaper)
Keringet (bottled water)
Toyota (vehicles) and
The Afro-Indian counterfeit debate is fast becoming one of the most significant IP developments reported on by this blog. It's not about small change either. According to reports Africa accounts for 14% of India's $8 billion dollar generics industry. Kenya deserves congratulations for having enacted counterfeit legislation in the first place but this blog would welcome more African commentary on the reason for this apparently far reaching provision.
Monday, 8 June 2009
While it is not clear which southern Africa countries the delegation will be visiting, the visit seems to have been precipitated by the enactment of an Anti-counterfeit law in Kenya. It would appear that Uganda has recently drafted a similar bill which is worrying Indian generic drug manufacturers over certain provisions which they interpret to mean that generic drugs are classified as counterfeit.
It would seem that Indian officials are worried that other countries in Africa may follow the Kenya and Uganda example, a trend which they fear will put the Indian drug industry in jeopardy as Africa is a huge market for their generic drugs. According to the report the mission will try to persuade African countries to desist from enacting such laws.
India protest over Kenya's anti counterfeit legislation here.
India up in arms over Kenya's anti-counterfeit bill here
Diplomatic mission here
Space mission here
Mark Schultz and Alec van Gelder (mentioned here, here and here for their work "Nashville in Africa") have written a piece for Ghana News highlighting Ghanaian musician/producer Victor Tieku and the Ghanaian music industry.
Victor Tieku is striving to be Ghana's version of Ralph Peer, the man who founded the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee. In fact, last year peermusic began collaborating with Tieku and his label, Kampsite Records. Part of Tieku's plan involves a new method of royalty collection. Rather than using the Copyright Society of Ghana, which is fraught with many of the same problems as other African collecting societies, artists can use Tieku's business as the intermediary for collecting royalties.
"He [Tieku] plans to set up a music publishing business that will promote and license music for radio and television, in advertisements, films, ringtones, and recordings by other musicians."
Schultz and van Gelder express a belief that this will benefit the Ghanaian industry. Collecting societies in Africa often developed from remnants of institutions left behind by colonial powers or in mimicking developed countries. This cart-before-the-horse scenario resulted in a situation in which countries have collecting societies but without the strong publishing company backbones needed to support the societies. Tieku is taking the opportunity provided by Ghana's new copyright law (Section 49) that allows private "collective administration societies" to create that strong backbone.
Schultz and van Gelder also discussed other areas where Ghana is making progress and where it still needs some work to legally support growing a successful music industry. The goods and bads are pretty much the usuals for Africa: popular music, new copyright law; lack of implementation of new law, poor enforcement, rampant piracy. And that overwhelming common good: a lot of potential for an amazing industry.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Years ago, when former President Obasanjo was in power, the Nigerian Copyright Commission moved from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Justice. Though the move was ignored in many ways - newspaper articles still often discuss the Minster of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation when discussing NCC issues - it did produce some outcries and a court case.
The Nigeria General Discussion Blog brings us news that the Federal High Court has released its judgment in the case. It is unclear from the article whether the court dismissed the suit or found in favor of the defendants. Either way, the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Nigeria did not prevail in its constitutional challenge of the NCC's move.
Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Nigeria brought a case challenging the President's ability to move the NCC from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Justice. The problem, as PMRS saw it, was that the President acted unconstitutionally by ordering the move himself, without any approval from the legislative branch.
The court held that the move was not unconstitutional. Per Article 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:
The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.
For more details on the politics behind the case and other parties involved, see the Discussion Blog's full report.
Friday, 5 June 2009
"A gathering of senior policy makers and intellectual property (IP) administrators from 36 African countries meeting in Pretoria, South Africa on May 26 and 27, 2009, to examine the importance of IP as a catalyst for economic and commercial development, marked the launch of a Japanese-financed program to promote the use of IP in Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).Afro Leo wonders, not for the first time, whether the expenditure involved in flying IP administrators, WIPO officials and national diplomats around the world and putting them up in comfy hotels is justifiable. Why not let these blameless souls communicate via teleconferencing -- a technology which has been working in a most satisfactory manner since the previous century -- so that the money saved might be better spent in investment in the IP infrastructure of those countries that need it most?
The event, organized by WIPO in cooperation with the governments of South Africa and Japan, is part of the WIPO-administered Japanese Funds-in-Trust (FIT) Program for Africa and LDCs. The two-day meeting provided an opportunity for participants to reflect on the range of policy options available to create an enabling environment for the effective use and management of IP assets.
IP experts from Japan, Malaysia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and African Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO), WIPO and the World Bank addressed a range of themes, including patent information as a tool for innovation; technology transfer; use of IP for business competitiveness; commercializing IP assets; value added services of IP offices; funding of scientific research and innovation; and IP development from a regional perspective.
Participants also discussed concrete proposals for future activities to be implemented within the framework of the FIT program and expressed appreciation for Japan’s generosity in establishing it.
Japan has supported a number of WIPO-administered projects through extra-budgetary funding since 1987. Through these channels, Japan shares its experience in the use of intellectual property for wealth creation, enhanced competitiveness and economic development".
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Sarah-Jane Pluke, a partner at IP specialists Moore Attorneys, successfully argued for Neotel twice now (this is an appeal decision) that iBurst should be denied its request for relief. Her report on BizCommunity can be located here.
"...assuming that advertising goodwill could arise out of the widespread and sustained use of a colour, it would have to be shown by an advertiser that it had exclusively made use of the colour and had through such exclusivity of use, acquired protectable property in such use."
Afro Leo wonders whether there is an irony that iBurst may themselves be accused by Orange Telecom of misappropriating the colour orange under the far-reaching ASA code, which also states, controversially, that: "An advertiser should not copy an existing advertisement, local or international, or any part thereof in a manner that is recognisable or clearly evokes the existing concept and which may result in the likely loss of its potential advertising value. This will apply notwithstanding the fact that there is no likelihood of confusion or deception or that the existing concept has not been generally exposed." For the ECJ ruling on colours (co-incidentally also orange click here)...it seems though, that only a lemon takes on an orange these days.
And...South Africa’s television content industry is gearing up for its protest action against public broadcaster SABC’s financial and management crisis this afternoon in Johannesburg and Cape Town at 12 noon. For details of the protest click here. For the Afro-IP and IP Finance views click here and here.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Collage Herbal Toothpaste is made in China. According to Alibaba the producer can supply 200,000 units a day.
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
"... little or nothing is done by African countries, including Nigeria to develop and produce their vaccines and drugs even from readily available natural products. This is not due to lack of research results, waiting to be commercialised or as a resulted of lack of manpower and organisations to engage in this, but largely due to lack of or no political will at all on the part of governments. "
"Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the CEO of Neimeth Nigeria Limited in his presentation, explained the seamless gulf that has existed between researchers and pharmaceutical companies. He said pharmaceutical companies have not been able to work with researchers in turning their findings to real drugs, because of lack of the huge amount of money required to take up such projects as well as a gulf in communication between the two. He said that banks need to come in with adequate funding when there is such a research result that needs to produce into commercial drug."
Afro Leo concludes that for most of Africa there seems to be little or no infrastructure available to manufacture drugs despite calls by frustrated researchers and a dire need (eg HIV and its catastrophic effect on the workforce) that he feels, governments can hardly ignore . The article does explain though that some progress has been made in Nigeria to address the problem.