Friday 11 April 2014

Caroline B Ncube

IP Policies in Africa: no.19: Ethiopia

This week the series finds itself in Ethiopia, the home of exceptional coffee. Afro-IP readers will be familiar with Ethiopia's experience with Starbucks which has been reported upon several times on this blog (e.g. here and  here). As a member of COMESA, Ethiopia subscribes to the COMESA IP Policy. Ethiopia does not yet have a national IP policy. She has a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy (2012) which addresses IP.  The STI policy is available for download from the Ministry of Science and Technology' website (here). It states:

"3.8 Intellectual Property System
Intellectual Property system is said to play a valuable role if it contributes to technology transfer as well as to technology capability building through FDI and technology licensing. Nevertheless, intellectual property system as a whole in Ethiopia is not playing a substantial role in accelerating technology transfer and expansion of local innovation activities. Hence, the Ethiopian IP system needs to be designed in such a way as to support the endeavor of technology learning and adaptation as well as to protect the rights of inventors and creators and support the augmentation and application of indigenous knowledge".
It then lists the following strategies for implementing these goals"
"1. Make use of IP information at large in support of the efforts to build national technology capability;
2. Establish and implement a system that ensures effective protection of indigenous genetic resources and IP assets of the nation besides bringing benefit out of them.
3. Develop and implement the application of IPR systems at national and institutional level;
4. Strengthen and implement copyright protection in such a way to encourage and promote creative works;
5. strengthen trademark protection to create a healthy and competitive environment among manufacturing and service providing enterprises."

The only recent analysis of the STI Policy (2012)  of which this Leo is aware is that by Wondwossen Belete entitled 'Towards University–Industry Innovation Linkages in Ethiopia' ( available in full here). This analysis focuses on how the STI policy in the context of reaping benefits from publicly funded research.

WIPO: The Coffee War: Ethiopia and the Starbucks Story
For a study on the use of GIs for Ethiopian copy see Chidi Oguamanam and Teshager Dagne 'Geographical Indication (GI) Options for Ethiopian Coffee and Ghanaian Cocoa' here
Ethiopian IP Laws on WIPOLex 
Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology website
A review of African official IP websites: no.19: Ethiopia

Caroline B Ncube

Caroline B Ncube

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