- The International Trademark Association (INTA)'s comments are available here
- The UCT IP Unit has posted comments (here) co-authored by Tobias Schonwetter (UCT), Lesle Jansen (Natural Justice) and Laura Foster (Indiana University).
- The Anton Mostert Chair in IP at Stellenbosch University has posted comments by Sadulla Karjiker (here) and Madeline Kleyn (here)
Amongst other concerns, INTA notes the potential negative impact of a 'the co-existence of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions with trademark rights' and implores the creation of a system that is 'consistent with the well-established intellectual property principles of territoriality, exclusivity, priority, and notice' (p. 1). All the other comments are unanimous in their view that the sui generis approach to the protection of TK advanced by the bill is a better approach than that provided for by the IP Laws Amendment Act. However, they all point out concerns about the Bill in its current form. In my view, one of the most pressing of these is how this Bill, if it it passed, will relate to the IP protection provided by the various IP statutes as amended by the IP Laws Amendment Act. The UCT IP Unit submission notes that South Africa will have a mixed approach [that offers the option of either IP or sui generis protection] that may cause tensions 'among and within indigenous communities' about the selection of protection for their TK (p. 3). Dr Kleyn, on the other hand, is of the view that such a mixed approach is not feasible because 'the two separate systems of protection for IK provided for in these two pieces of legislation cannot co-exist.' Therefore she recommends that the 'IKS Bill should upon promulgation repeal the IPLA Act' (p. 14).
It will be interesting to see how discussions on this Bill develop both in and outside parliament.
For more discussion, see Linda Daniels 'A Cautious Welcome For South Africa’s Traditional Knowledge Legislation'