African intellectual property law, practice and policies. This weblog provides news, information and comment on IP law, practice and business deals right across Africa. Ce blog propose des actualités, informations, et commentaires sur la législation et la pratique en matière de propriété intellectuelle et de droit des contrats d'affaires en Afrique. For some insight into the origins of this blog click here.
Friday, 12 August 2016
Adams & Adams Africa Network Meeting 11 August 2016 (part 1)
This is the third annual AAANM. It is not
normally covered by this blog because it is an internal meeting of Adams &
Adams’ network of agents across Africa. With permission and because the meeting
has evolved, I now blog on this rare and perhaps even unique occasion that gets
people from across Africa networking and speaking on African IP issues.
The meeting, chaired by Simon Brown and
arranged by Menzi Maboyi, is held over two days. The first day (yesterday)
brings together thoughts, ideas and updates from the various regions and
countries in Africa. The full agenda and list of speakers can be obtained here and here.
This is a short summary of some of the interesting aspects that came out of the
meeting. You can gain some other insights through those that tweeted. Look out
for @AfroIP, @AdamsAdamsLaw, @DarrenTOlivier, @LitaQamata and @BrendaMatanga.
John Kani, a well known African playwright, director and
author, kicked off proceedings with a rousing call to action for Africans to
stand up and be counted, and for those in the audience to direct their thoughts
into ensuring that intellectual property preserves the cultural heritage of
Africa. There were a number of impressive aspects of John’s address. Notable for
me was that it addressed all African countries, ethnicities, cultures, colours,
races, genders, religions, political aversions as one – this is where we stand,
this is what is happening … now do something. And, use IP to help us. Far from
the usual divisive bickering and anti-IP rhetoric that is so depressing. His
address thoroughly deserved its standing ovation.
Break-out sessions followed. For obvious reasons
I can only comment on the one I moderated which was on GIs, effectively served up on a plate
by the keynote speaker. If there is one current form of IP in use that is particularly
framed to, amongst others, preserve heritage, it would be GIs. Dr Saudin Mwajake
(Tanzania) and Chris Kiige (ARIPO) delivered excellent mini presentations to
start conversations (reps from Egypt, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania,
Zanzibar and Zimbabwe) aimed at educating about GIs, analysing motivators
(which are more than cultural heritage), the different models, the challenges
and the disputes. An hour crunched in no time at all.
The annual case law review was articulately
delivered by Lita Miti-Qamata. Readers may recall her from #SandtonDiscussion
fame and her half hour session covered cases in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South
Africa and Zambia. Her final slide summed it up:
Stephen Hollis and Gregory Sadyalunda took
to the stage on WIPO’s efforts to automate Africa’s Registries. By 2015 WIPO
had successfully helped automate Registries in 22 countries in Africa.
Highlighting some of the challenges to future automation, Gregory noted Social
and Culture barriers as the most significant – “linguistic barriers, lack of service orientation, lack of awareness,
lack of external pressure, lack of popularity for e-commerce and online
services in general”.Stephen
focussed on the availability searches through IPAS warning to pay attention to the
search algorithms for more accurate results.