Friday, 18 October 2013

RSA's National IP Policy - academics' joint submission

Following UCT's invitation to crowd-source comments on the draft national IP policy (here), several scholars jointly submitted comments on the draft IP policy yesterday (disclosure: this Leo is one of the contributors). It is couched in a sympathetic and constructive yet critical manner as its authors applaud the initiative to begin national dialogue on the IP policy while calling for an extensive and rigorous engagement with the process going forward. The submission (available here) is in the nature of an outline document – it comments on the broad issues of principle, and indicates where its authors find the draft policy desirable or undesirable. It also contains some recommendations which it suggests should be enacted through the amendment of  relevant IP legislation.

It concludes by calling upon government to ensure that the resultant IP policy is informed by the following principles-

  •  IP policy must be development-oriented, aimed to benefit all sectors of society, particularly the most vulnerable, and consistent with the fundamental rights under our Constitution.
  • The policy should not under any circumstances endorse any more than the minimum requirements of the TRIPS Agreement and other international obligations to which South Africa is a party.
  • All available flexibilities (drawn from TRIPS, Doha Declaration, and other international, foreign and domestic law sources) should be incorporated into the policy.
  • In view of the severe public health impact of unexamined pharmaceutical patents, an express commitment is needed to the establishment of a patent examination system.
  • IP laws and administration should comply with the requirements of the Bill of Rights.

It also calls for the following urgent measures to be taken:

  • Further extensive public-wide consultation on this IP Policy, and on each legislative and policy draft emanating from this process.
  • The establishment of a working group comprising government, academia and civil society, to advance the objectives of this policy process.
  • The necessary investigations, and cost and impact assessments of the institution of an examination system.

The authors of the submission are:
Dr. Tobias Schonwetter, University of Cape Town
Professor Yousuf A Vawda,University of KwaZulu-Natal
Associate Professor Caroline Ncube, University of Cape Town
Mr. Andrew Rens, Duke University, U.S.A. & University of Cape Town
Prof. Brook K Baker, Northeastern University, U.S.A. & University of KwaZulu-Natal
Dr. Andre Louw, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Dr. Bernard Maister, University of Cape Town
Dr. Bram de Jonge, Wageningen University, The Netherlands & University of Cape Town

Other comments available on or reported upon on Afro-IP - 



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