This post is a welcome contribution from Amanda Lotheringen (Senior Manager of Copyright and Enforcement) on the launch of their new training manual. Congrats!
"The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) recently launched a South African version of a "Training Manual on Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Prosecution for law Enforcement Agencies and Prosecutors" prepared by the Honourable Justice Harms, former Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, based on a similar manual prepared for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This IP Manual was customized by Justice Harms for the South African legal landscape. The success of the project can be attributed to the close collaboration between CIPC and WIPO’s Building Respect for IP Division.
With the manual as a backdrop a training programme was conducted over two and a half days and was attended by senior Commercial Court prosecutors representing six of the nine Provinces and senior police officers from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation from all nine Provinces. 38 nominated officials from the above organizations were the first batch to benefit from this Train the Trainer programme. Training trainers has proven to be very effective as a mechanism to promote peer to peer practical training.
The objectives were to build capacity and foster inter-agency cooperation as cornerstones of effective enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in South Africa. Building partnerships and leveraging on the expertise of such partners greatly assist the CIPC to strengthen the regulatory environment and efforts geared at combating trade mark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.
The first day commenced after the Acting Commissioner for CIPC, Adv Rory Voller welcomed all participants and emphasized the successes associated with collaboration, especially in training and education initiatives. He also mentioned the political will and commitment that the Minster of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, MP had expressed by way of listing combatting counterfeiting and piracy as a key priority area for CIPC.
Adv. Voller was followed by the Executive Manager for Innovation and Creativity, Ms Nomonde Maimela who highlighted cooperation between investigators and prosecutors as a crucial element of a successful criminal prosecution. She emphasised the linkages between the IP Manual and the international obligations and requirements contained in Part III of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS Agreement"). Article 61 of the TRIPS Agreement requires members of the World Trade Organization ("the WTO") to "provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at least in cases of wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale". South Africa, as a consequence, adopted the Counterfeit Goods Act 37 of 1997 (GCA) as part of the legal framework within which to deal with IP-related crimes.
Ms. Maimela further underscored the value of the IP Manual as a tool to assist investigators and prosecutors in identifying the essential elements of trade mark counterfeiting and copyright piracy and to analyse the requirements for successful prosecution. She closed by emphasising the link between effective enforcement of IPRs and economic growth.
Louise van Greunen, Director, Building Respect for IP Division represented WIPO. She commended South Africa as being the first Member State to have adopted a customised version of the WIPO Training Manual on Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Prosecution for law Enforcement Agencies and Prosecutors and thanked the CIPC for their commitment to build capacity in this important area.
The training was conducted at the highest level with most of the substantive lectures being presented by the author of the IP Manual, Justice Harms."