Tuesday, 29 January 2013

PAIPO is dead! Long live PAIPO!

"PAIPO is dead! Long live PAIPO!" Thus exclaims Afro Leo's friend and PAIPO-watcher Caroline Ncube, who has just sent us the latest news on this very sensitive, potentially valuable proposal:
"Afro-IP carried an impassioned discussion on the Draft PAIPO Statute last year and a petition on PAIPO was hosted on change.org. In a recent paper in the Journal of Intellectual Property and Practice (JIPLP -- abstract here) I outlined the gist of the debate over the Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO) and shared some thoughts on how to improve the statute. The keenly-watched Brazzaville 5th African Union Conference of Ministers of Science and Technology (AMCOST V ) has come and gone. PAIPO was discussed on 15 November 2012.  The documentation and presentations prepared for the meeting are available here.  It is not exactly clear what the Council of Ministers decided about PAIPO. The only publicly available official document on the results of the meeting is a press release that does not mention PAIPO.

Some accounts state that they have shelved the statute and the organisation (see W New). Others indicate that they decided to proceed with PAIPO (D Ndhlovu ‘Pan African IP body survives a high level attack’, here). The AU’S STRC, which is the custodian of the drafting process, does not provide any details on its website, beyond describing the project and hosting the text of the statute. I have not received a reply to my email requesting details of the outcome of the November meeting.

So what did the Ministers decide? I believe it there is accuracy in both accounts of the outcome. It is probable that the Council of Ministers decided to proceed with PAIPO in principle (in keeping with their earlier 2007 decision) but postponed adopting the text until it has been further consulted upon and reworked. In that case, the (current) PAIPO Statute is dead. Long live PAIPO as we are likely to see another attempt at creating it in the future. If this does eventuate, it is hoped that the input provided by various academics, practitioners and other commentators will be taken on board.

If anyone has documentation pertaining to the decisions made at AMCOST V, please send it to Afro-IP".

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