Friday, 27 September 2013

Uganda’s New Industrial Property Act, Almost

P6261613 Having been out hunting for awhile – and let me tell you, it’s not easy for a vegetarian lion; soy okapi is just not readily available everywhere – this Little Leo is catching up on news that she missed and missed sharing with you.

Last month, Uganda’s Parliament passed an updated version of the Industrial Property Bill (2009). [Full text pdf of 2009 version.]  The Bill was originally presented in 2009 but was lost in the shuffle of elections and rotating parliamentarians.  The Bill will become law when (is this an “if”? Afro Leo wonders) the President signs it.

The Industrial Property Bill is important for several reasons.  Uganda currently does not have a law relating to industrial property; this will be the first and should repeal the existing Patent and Design Acts, one of which is left over from colonial days.  ah, 1937, such a good year, or so my grandpa has said.  Henry Zakumumpa does a great job of explaining, in layman’s terms, why this Act is so important for the health of Uganda’s people, here.  Additionally, before being passed by Parliament, the original bill was modified to incorporate future potential TRIPs extensions. 

The full text of the passed Bill is not yet available.  However, there is a Report from the Sectoral Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, which worked on edits to the Bill.  Based on that, some interesting expected features of the Bill include a provision that allows for the protection of local herbs and medicines despite not protecting pharmaceuticals.  Pharmaceuticals are exempt from protection until at least 2016, but local herbs and medicines can be protected under Traditional Knowledge.  Another is the removal of a provision criminalizing patent infringement.  The full, revised bill will be very interesting to peruse.

Huge hat tip to Primah Kwagala for helping Afro-Leo understand the history of the Bill and it’s path.

Photo: almost-complete building in Entebbe, taken by Afro-Leo

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