Friday, 5 June 2015

New plant varieties in Sub-Sarahan Africa -- an article

Vol.14 issue 3 of the Bio-Science Law Review, published by Lawtext, contains an article of substantial relevance to readers of this weblog. It's "Intellectual Property Protection of New Varieties of Plants in Sub-Saharan Africa: Overview of Existing Regimes (Part 1)" by Marcelin Tonye Mahop, Aprinah Magarinah Shikoli and Alhaji Tejan-Cole. According to the abstract:
Innovation: getting hotter in Africa ...
"The 1994 WTO TRIPs Agreement requires WTO members, except least developed countries (for the time being if they do not want to) to provide some form of intellectual property protection to plant varieties, but does not oblige them to utilise a specific IP tool (between patents or sui generis Plant Breeders' Rights) for such protection. In this article, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has sought to provide an overview of the approaches adopted by 33 jurisdictions across Africa for the protection of new varieties of plants using either a sui generis system (UPOV-based or not) or the patent system. These jurisdictions include the two main African regional intellectual property organizations, the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) and its English-language counterpart, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and 31 national regimes for plant variety protection in Africa. Part 2 of the article will appear in the next issue of the journal".
The sequel, in Vol.14 issue 4, is unsurprisingly entitled "Intellectual Property Protection of New Varieties of Plants in Sub-Saharan Africa: Overview of Existing Regimes (Part 2)".

It's good to see a journal like the BioSLR carrying materials on Africa, since there is a feeling in some quarters that the continent is merely a repository for old varieties which pharma companies and others target for bio-prospecting purposes, rather than a place from which innovation springs.

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