Thursday 15 January 2009


South Africa - new IP Rights Act

The South African Intellectual Property Rights Act has reportedly been signed into law. The Act is not yet available online, but the bill can be accessed at
According to the Department of Science and Technology "The specific object of the legislation is that intellectual property emanating from publicly financed research and development should be commercialised for the benefit of all South Africans, and protected from appropriation."
This new Act is intended to provide for an enabling environment for intellectual property (IP) creation, protection, management and commercialisation, and the country's knowledge-generating institutions would now have clear guidance on how best to manage IP, as well as how to ensure that publicly financed IP went out into the market place and was used.
"Key to this, the law is aimed at facilitating the creation of new knowledge that is derived from public funding and to secure this knowledge in the form of IP rights, including, but not limited to patents, for IP that could have economic and social benefits."
The Bill came in for some criticism, not only because it envisaged a complex regulatory environment, which some felt would stifle, rather than encourage, research.
One of the articles on the Bill, Coenraad Visser’s “Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Funded Research: The Way to Research Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions” (2007) SA Merc LJ 363) describes the Bill as ‘flawed by a misunderstanding of basic intellectual property concepts and tenets’. One can only hope that the Act, when available, shows that this, and other criticism, has been taken into account.



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15 January 2009 at 15:18 delete

I have listed seven problems with the Act on my blog

These reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of how to use IP in a strategic way.