Monday 19 March 2012

Darren Olivier

TK on death row? - Dean's final appeal

Now that's a proper bill
The highly criticised Traditional Knowledge Bill in RSA which is due to become legislation imminently has received a final abandonment call from Prof Owen Dean representing the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property. The call takes the form of an alternate Bill which Dean describes in IP-Watch as:
"build[ing] on, expand[ing], correct[ing] and delineat[ing] the scope of the current Bill to make it work (however difficult) as an independent statute for this (clearly) independent type of work."
Dean's persistence is to be admired. Drafting an entire Bill  requires significant time and effort - time and effort that may well (indeed, most likely will) come to nought. Changing the course of the proposed TK legislation at this late stage will surely require divine intervention. Dean's frustration is evident by his own increasingly emotive language as the proposed Bill has made its way, despite significant criticism.

Afro-IP readers have had their say too - of the 55 people who participated in the poll not a single vote went in favour of the current proposed legislation as it stands. Yet, not even an acknowledging peep from proponents of the Bill.

It is easy to criticise and not propose solutions. However, Dean has not done that. No doubt his new Bill will attract its own criticism (eg there is no substantive examination and the constructive notice principle seems harsh) but the basic premise is that it is a separate piece of  legislation creating a separate right or bundle of rights that seems much neater and more workable than the current proposed method of dealing with TK protection.

What is of concern to Afro Leo is how disengaged the government appears to be. Dean has shown, in no uncertain terms, that he does not like to be ignored and, frankly, he deserves not to be. This Leo has heard him lament a "golden era" of IP along with other distinguished figures, such as former SCA Judge Louis Harms who, incidentally, is due to speak on the "Politics of IP" at the upcoming UJ Seminar. It seems abundantly clear that stalwarts of the local IP community are suffering from severe laryngitis.

For an explanation and context of the criticism click here and read the right hand side of the blog.

For a synopsis of the proposed Bill by Dean, click here.

For Yahoo's Answer to the "fastest way to cure laryngitis" click here.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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