Friday 13 October 2017

Darren Olivier

LES, Herbex, NIPMO, IP Briefs, the Crammer and Kenya's Copyright developments - Friday ramblings

The Licensing Executives Society of South Africa has a very pleasant and active local membership. This week their one day conference attracted over 50 attendees speaking on topics that  included South Africa’s draft IP Policy, OECD tax regime developments, NIPMO’s dynamic progress under Dr Kerry Faul and the Competition Commission’s foray into the world of compulsory licensing. It is as interesting as it is diverse which is real attraction of the LES local chapter and this year they were joined by LES International President Peter Hess, as well as local President Alessia Del Bianco.

My own involvement was to join Dr Madelein Kleyn in a discussion that traversed new acronyms BEPS and DEMPE in the context of transfer pricing, international tax structures and IP structuring. You might well ask what the heck do you know about that and the answer would be - a lot more now then I did prior to preparing for the discussion. Madelein's editorial in the latest IP Briefs will provide some context to these developments and all I have to say is that if BEPS and DEMPE work effectively there will be no need for current headaches caused by local exchange control in South Africa, a mechanism designed in part to curtail base tax erosion.

Without wanting to single out any presentation, Dr Kerry Faul’s update on NIPMO developments was very heartwarming. As an advocate of both intellectual property and Africa, this national initiative to capture and commercialise innovation of some of the smartest minds in South Africa and use it for social good, job creation and general upliftment was commendable to start with. NIPMO was always going to have its challenges and still does but there is evidence of genuine achievement towards its goals. For this Dr Faul received an award from LES which deserves particular mention and congratulations.

Turning to another initiative that is close to my heart, the Crammer is a concept that attempts to digest a year’s worth of IP developments into a single morning for the benefit of busy in-house counsel, executives and business owners. My firm embraced the idea and now advocates their biggest and boldest Crammer yet next Thursday at the Radisson Sandton (not Gautrain), that I have the pleasure of MCing. You can view the complete agenda in the Watering Hole section here. The guest speaker is the excellent Michael Charton who will present My Father’s Coat, a truly inspiring and very relevant South Africa tale. It's nearly full so hurry!

"It’s our biggest and boldest Crammer® yet – presented by Adams & Adams to an exclusive audience of in-house legal representatives, entrepreneurs and executive decision-makers. In focusing on IP, commercial and property law developments, our legal professionals will review interesting updates and commentary on subjects ranging from innovation funding, copyright and brand development, to data protection and a number of significant IP and commercial case law studies."

Another recent development is news that the ASA in South Africa is continuing to progress its resurgence under the watchful eye of acting CEO Gail Schimmel and the loyal Leon Grobler. Emboldened by the order in the much anticipated Herbex case appeal which had threatened to severely curtail the decision making powers of the ASA they are making progress in re-captivating consumer and industry trust as a self regulated watchdog.

The upshot of the Herbex order is that although the ASA is not able to rule against non members it is able to adjudicate on whether any advertising is contrary to its code.  This will enable it members, which are vast ranging and include a number of industry associations embracing media, consumers and broadcasting to elect not to accept advertising which is contrary to the code. For more on the ASA on this blog, click here.

Looking north, Kenya’s Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2017 was recently tabled in parliament for a first reading. It has provisions that seek to update copyright laws with the digital age and information systems, as well as specific benefits for those that are blind, have visual impairments and certain physical disabilities. It also introduces the concept of a resale royalty right. I am hoping that our colleagues in East Africa will provide some commentary on this development in a future posts together with news of the Kenya Copyright Board’s new logo which is the subject of a competition launched by their Department of Justice, with almost $2000 worth of prize money up for grabs.

Have a good weekend!

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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