Wednesday 11 January 2012

Darren Olivier

First January Post

This Afro Leo's First January Post (delayed due to a xmas break) is, as usual, Janus-like in its glance over some of the major issues in 2011 and forthcoming projects in 2012.

Some highlights in 2011 include :

  • Really a lowlight but a very significant incident was the murder of customs official Johan Nortje which provoked well over 300 concerned readers to vote on the Afro-IP poll for an urgent investigation and which lead to World Trade Mark Review's grilling of Ronald Noble and Kunio Mikuriya of Interpol and WCO, respectively, about the incident - highlighting the stakes in the counterfeiting business in Africa.
  • INTA's response(s) to the omission of the Africa focus for the 2012 INTA meeting following an outcry from readers, are greatly appreciated - Africa remains firmly on INTA's IP agenda.
  • Jeremy's Monday posts from roving cyber reporter Kingsley Ebgonou whose efforts in highlighting the the online presence (sadly, mostly absence) of African IP Registries have started to elicit change and a great deal of interest. His most recent excursion to Malawi must have felt like fishing for shark at their stunning Monkey Bay.
  • South Africa's TKgate (click here) exposed by Professor Dean in his new post as the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property at Stellenbosch University. If the name of the post is mouthful its vision to be "the custodian of South African IP law" is certainly not.
  • The retirement of probably the most active and well respected IP Judge in South Africa, if not the continent - Louis Harms. His departure leaves a worrying gap on the South Africa bench. If only the South African public paid as much attention to its judicial bench as it did to Bismark Du Plessis' worrying presence on bench at last year's Rugby World Cup.
  • The IP interest in Africa's 55th country - South Sudan - which has given rise to a great number of online hits as did the Libya update by Spoor and Fisher on the Afro-IP Linkedin group.
  • The rise of new African IP blogs such as IPKenya and social media tweeters with an African bite such as @IPinAfrica and @cr8veDesignLaw (Adams & Adams) to name a few, apart from @afroip of course.
  • ARIPO's newsletter content that is excellent in depth and breadth - long may it last.
  • Nigeria embracing the role of IP in nation building and the role of overseas base institutions such as WIPO, CLDP and PIPRA in promoting African IP together with the constant and appreciated support of the IPKAT weblog.
  • The launch of the Anti-Counterfeit Friday posts to promote the extent of the problem on the continent.
  • Recognition of Afro-IP by:
    • the SAIIPL president Tshepo Shabangu for its role in promoting African IP.
    • LexisNexis as one of the top 25 international law blogs (see alongside)
Although Afro-IP is extremely appreciative of the support from its readers, contributors as well as acknowledgements and notes 2011 highlights above there is still a considerable amount to do. Africa is a continent with around 1 billion people and 55 odd countries full of innovation, yet its worldwide contribution to IP is estimated to be under 1%. Whilst the first WIPO report on the state of worldwide IP recognises advancements on the continent, the numbers come from such a low base that one cannot but help feel that progress remains slow. Afro-IP appreciates that there are considerable constraints to IP growth and recognition such as poverty, education and war but sends this rallying call to those in the know to take some (extra) time out (and continue) to contribute, and make a difference by sending contributions here or by commenting on the blog.

Best wishes for 2012!!

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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13 January 2012 at 06:45 delete

Thank you for the mention, Darren.

Best wishes for 2012!