Wednesday 18 December 2013

Caroline B Ncube

IP policies in Africa- no. 7 - 11 Cameroon to Comoros

Having spent the last week at the OpenAIR conference and the Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest reported upon by fellow Leos Isaac Rutenberg (hereherehereherehere, here and hereand Aurelia Schultz (here and here) this Leo is back with the IP policy series. This week we visit Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad and Comoros.

IP policies were not discussed expressly at the OpenAIR conference and the Global Congress but they were, of course, simmering under the surface of any discussions on appropriate IP laws and practices. This is because these laws and practices are informed by (written and unwritten) national policies. A written policy is first prize because it transparently sets out the national approach to IP and can therefore be consistently applied by the various government departments seized with IP matters. The process of its formulation also ideally involves expert input and public consultation and where this is taken seriously will result in a robust national approach. Where a country does not have a written policy, one can deduce a national stance from laws and practices of government departments. Such stances are likely to be uncertain and lack expert and public interrogation. Therefore many calls for reform often include exhortations to develop explicit national IP policies which would then serve as a foundation for laws and practices. On to this week's countries then ...

Cameroon does not yet have an IP policy nor has it received WIPO technical assistance focussing on IP policy (see WIPO TA Database search results here). Similarly Cape Verde does not also have an IP policy nor does it seem to be working on one (see its WIPOLex entry here and WIPO TA Database search results here). The Central African Republic (WIPOLex entry here) appears to have been working on an IP policy since 2010 when the WIPO TA Database lists a workshop entitled 'Consolidation of Intellectual Property Development Plan of Central African Republic' here. This Leo was unable to find a final version of an IP policy. Chad is also working on an IP Policy as evidenced by a WIPO TA Database record here of a workshop held in September 2013 on the 'Projet de plan de développement de la pI et de l'innovation technologique (PNDPI)'.

Comoros (WIPOLex entry here) attended the African Conference on the Strategic Importance of IP Policies to foster Innovation, Value Creation and Competitiveness and ECOSOC Regional Preparatory Meeting held in Tanzania in early 2013 (see WIPO TA Database entry here) but does not seem to have done any further work.

This post must end with the disclaimer that WIPOLex and  the WIPO TA Database may be incomplete and omit certain documents, hence readers are asked to share any information that they may have via the comments section below. Finally, thanks are due to Hafeni Ashimbonde for his research assistance.

Caroline B Ncube

Caroline B Ncube

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