Friday, 20 August 2010

Libya and Rwanda Improve IP Systems

Two separate announcements highlight improvements in the intellectual property systems of Libya and Rwanda.

Libya’s new Trade Mark Rules

In addition, a resolution passed early last year in Libya has produced tangible results.  The Ministerial Resolution No. 316 of May 2009 made some modifications to trademark registrations in the country.  This month, the Libyan Trademark Office issued a registration certificate, the first in 30 years.  More are expected to follow shortly as the Trademark Office process the large amount of applications received since the Resolution went into effect.

Soon, we will also be seeing the results of Libya’s new trademark law.  Already ratified by Parliament, the new trademark law needs implementing regulations and publication in the Official Gazette before entering into effect.  The new trademark law expands the scope of trademark protection in the country, lengthens grace periods, recognizes well-known marks and increases penalties for infringement. 

Mohammed Ali provides more in-depth information of both points at Mondaq and Saba & Co outlines more changes in the new TM law here.

Rwanda’s Upgrades

WIPO Magazine has a very informative article about the many major changes that Rwanda has instituted in the past year or so.  Here are a few highlights:

The reason behind these changes is very encouraging and refreshingly (at least not outwardly) driven by Western-world desires and policies.  “It is [therefore] vital that Rwanda has a functioning intellectual property system, to allow people to realize the full value of their creations, and to allow them to access the creations of others.” Afro-Leo is especially excited to see recognition of the importance of access to the creations of others, something that’s far too often overlooked when discussing IP policies.

The Law on Intellectual Property covers patents, copyright, trademarks, geographical indicators, industrial designs, utility models and unfair competition.  Laws covering the few missing topics, traditional knowledge and genetic research, are in the works.  (It appears not to be available on-line yet.  If anyone has a link, Afro-Leo would be very grateful.)  There are also new laws in the business area to help build a nurturing atmosphere turning the protected innovation into development.

In addition to new laws, there are also new groups, including a new cross-media collecting society, the Rwanda Society of Authors, a private entity supported by the government.

Afro-Leo urges you to read the whole, well-written, article if you have a chance.  (It’s not terribly long.) 

Thanks to Cathy Gellis and Professor Michael Scott for the Rwanda article tip.

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