Monday, 22 July 2013

A review of the IP office websites across Africa: An opinion summary

Having come to the end of the A-Z review, this Leo would like to summarise together with a list for your reference (to follow). During the yearlong review, we witnessed a few countries that tried or managed to improve their websites and many reluctant to do so. Readers may remember that, in his first tour, this blogger also commented on the web presence of both regional intellectual property (IP) offices, ARIPO and OAPI; thankfully, the former, under the leadership of Fernando Dos Santos, now maintains a neat informative website. 

Like this Leo commented in his last review post (and sure many would agree with him), most modern websites are almost like walking into one's office or business to see what they have on offer. For a government department, it often exudes a sense of confidence and transparency. To his mind, there may well be an arguable correlation between maintaining a respectable IP office website and taking IP seriously (whether pro-development or otherwise) as a country. (Says Afro Leo, having a website does not always mean that an IP office is doing well in reality and fulfilling the expectations of its users) But this Leo can think of countries like: Morocco (home to the recent remarkable IP Treaty and a country which added a bit of finesse to its website on review) and South Africa (who maintains an exceptional website and a country which crops up in African economic growth discourse. (Afro Leo also reminds readers that RSA hosted the Africa IP Forum here). 

We also recently learned of the TRIPS deadline extension for least-developed countries (LDCs) - most of which are on the continent and among those without a website for their IP offices. Because of this development, it would be counterintuitive to expect LDCs to expend funds on their IP offices (if they already have one). 

Generally, it is a fair assessment to say that my observation last year is largely similar this time around. So, as WIPO contemplates establishing external bases on the continent, it may find it helpful to use Afro-IP's A-Z lists (2011/12 or the forthcoming 2012/13) as a starting point for its shortlist. (Afro Leo only recommends this (with a disclaimer) if WIPO wants to avoid the embarrassment where its host nation may not even have a website for its own IP office like currently seen in Cameroon for OAPI and Zimbabwe for ARIPO).

Blogging sabbatical

Little Leo is not actually putting his feet up, yet.
Source: here 
This Leo wishes to announce his absence from next week until, at least, December 2013 in order to fully focus on his research as well as other pressing commitments. To this end, he would like to use this opportunity to thank our readers (old and new) for participating and following the A - Z series. He hopes to return reinvigorated to deal with other matters of interest (yet to be decided) but would now leave a 12 months gap before revisiting the IP websites of these countries.

If you have any ideas or issues that you would like to see dealt with by this blog, please do leave your comments below or send us an email.  I'll be back!


No comments: