Thursday, 26 February 2015

IP policies in Africa no.52: Uganda


Elizabeth Tamale gives a very useful and detailed overview of Uganda's TRIPS Implementation which includes recent legislative developments in Uganda up to September 2014 here. This overview notes that whilst there are existing policies that are relevant to IP, 'an overarching national policy framework covering policy linkages between IP and other sectors such as public health, agriculture, environment, education, science and technology, culture and traditional knowledge, is still missing'.

Hopefully such a policy will soon be formulated. When it does it will no doubt be influenced by the
policy documents and positions of regional economic communities and  sub-regional IP organisations to which it belongs. The relevant policies include:
- the East African Community's Regional Intellectual Property Policy on the Utilisation of Public Health-Related WTO-TRIPS Flexibilities and the Approximation of National Intellectual Property Legislation (available here) and
- COMESA's regional IP policy (available here).
Uganda also has a vibrant IP community that includes organisations such as the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD). So IP policy formulation discussions are bound to be interesting.

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see Uganda's IP laws on WIPOLex here
see IP-Watch's articles on the EAC Regional Intellectual Property Policy on the Utilisation of Public Health-Related WTO-TRIPS Flexibilities and the Approximation of National Intellectual Property Legislation here and here

2 comments:

Njuguna said...

Caroline, in view of the author's statement to the effect that "patents have been granted for medicines including new antiretroviral drugs through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation despite the fact that as an LDC, Uganda is exempted from protecting patents on medicines until 2016", to what extent then are such ARIPO patents enforceable in Uganda?

Caroline Ncube said...

Hi Njuguna
The patents are valid and enforceable. Para 7 of the WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health (2001) provided that LDCS 'will not be obliged, with respect to pharmaceutical products, to implement or apply Sections 5 and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement or to enforce rights provided for under these Sections until 1 January 2016'. However, Uganda and other LDCs (e.g. LDC OAPI member states) opted to introduce patent protection prior to 2016. Once LDCS put such protection into place they must enforce it and they cannot rely on the Declaration's flexibility. ,