Saturday 2 May 2015


INTA Annual Meeting 2015 - once again features IP in Africa

WIPO’s filing statistics (2014) unsurprisingly tell us that the African continent’s share in the global trade mark activity in 2013 is higher (guess year-on-year) than its share for the other registrable IP rights compared in that same year. Trade mark = 2.4%; Industry design = 1.2%; Patent = 0.6%; and Utility model = 0.02%. Surely, the corporate world (or to be precise, multinational brand owners) isn't neglecting the trend here – which is likely to remain so for the next decade.

The 137th Annual Meeting (AM) of the International Trademark Association (INTA) kicks off today in San Diego, USA. [Did you know that INTA was founded as the United States Trademark Association?] Since this Leo can’t afford (financially and otherwise) to be there – same old excuses - the best he can do is to window-shop for Africa-related content. If nothing else, this post may serve as a benchmark for next year’s AM so as to gauge the level of topics discussed and the local IP firms involved.

Main course
Tuesday, 5th May, 11:45 am–1:00 pm
RT20 Trademark Offices in Africa: The Importance of Working with Related Government Agencies [Brilliant! Afro-IP blog once had a look at the state of affairs online here and here]

Simon Brown, Adams & Adams (South Africa)
John Syekei, Coulson Harney (Kenya)
Chitua Uzoh, Aluko & Oyebode (Nigeria)
Uche Nwokocha, Aluko & Oyebode (Nigeria) – Moderator (also a member of the project team)

Followed by Africa reception from 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm - mingle time!

Wednesday, 6th May, 10:15 am–11:30 am
RW02 Regional Update: Africa—The Implementation of International IP Treaties in Africa

Fernando Antonio Dos Santos, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) (Zimbabwe)
Dr. Paulin Edou Edou, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) (Cameroon)
Wayne Meiring, Spoor & Fisher Jersey (South Africa)
Uwa Ohiku, Jackson, Etti, Edu & Co. (Nigeria)
Chinyere Anayo Okorocha, Jackson, Etti, Edu & Co. (Nigeria) – Moderator (also a member of the project team)

Side dishes a.k.a Table Topics
Monday, 4th May, 1:15pm – 3:15pm
TM72 Regulation of Franchising in Africa: A Little Too Much?
Presenter: Tiwalola Okeyinka, AELEX (Nigeria)

Tuesday, 5th May, 1:15pm – 3:15pm
(1) TT67 Supply Chain Security: A Regulatory and Anticounterfeiting Measure in the Food and Drug Industry
Presenter: Kingsley Ejiofor, The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) (Nigeria)

(2) TT68 Taking Security Over Intellectual Property: The Challenges of Global Market Operation Companies
Presenter: Obinna Osisiogu, Stillwaters Law Firm (Nigeria)

Committee sessions include:
Monday, 4th May, 1:15 pm – 3:15 pm
Trademark Offices Practices Committee – Africa TMO Relations Subcommittee
Tuesday, 5th May, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Africa Global Advisory Council

On a side note, this Leo can see Aisha Salem, USPTO IP Attaché for the Middle East and North Africa, is listed as a participant. It would be good to find out from Salem if the USPTO (budget permitting) has any plans to expand its attaché program in Africa. [South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria?]

This Leo can remember Afro-IP’s rallying call to action after the Regional Update for Africa vanished from INTA’s AM agenda in 2011. Indeed, it is with great relief to see the slot restored the following year and thereafter (see 2013 -  link no longer available). In fact, last year it was titled ‘Africa Rising!’ At this juncture, one can hazard a guess that local IP firms [though Afro-Leo would like to see more firms from other African countries participating] and the regional IP offices help retain Africa on the agenda through their support. Please keep up the good work!

Sitting next to me is one over-optimistic Afro-Leo who is sing-songing, “I still have a dream that one day - oh yes, one good day - that INTA will boldly stage this grand event on African soil”. Well, for those looking for IP events in one of the lovely African cities, there are a few scheduled this month in Cairo, Dakar and Kigali.

To the fortunate ones attending: please do feel free to share (anonymously or otherwise) your thoughts, notes, gossip etc during or after the event. (See one example on Afro-IP here)

Other commendable INTA milestones
20[ ] – INTA holds its first Annual Meeting in Africa, in [fill in the gap].
2014 - INTA holds its first Annual Meeting in Asia, in Hong Kong.
2007 - INTA establishes representation in Mumbai, India.



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