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    Meetings On IP And Innovation In Africa Open In Tanzania

    Published on 12 March 2013 @ 6:02 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    A ministerial-level meeting organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Japan Patent Office, and the Tanzanian government began today in Dar es Salaam. The two-day conference, which focuses on how IP can stimulate innovation and development, will be followed by a UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting and a US Department of Commerce Commercial Law and Development Program (CLDP)-led workshop on IP use and protection at the same venue.

    Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry opened the African Conference on the Strategic Importance of Intellectual Property Policies to Foster Innovation, Value Creation and Competitiveness, which is being held in Dar es Salaam from 12-13 March. Some twenty African ministers, senior policymakers, and entrepreneurs are participating in the meeting, according to a WIPO press release. The conference will address themes such as Africa’s development challenges, promoting an innovative environment, and WIPO’s role in fostering innovation.

    In his opening speech, Kikwete said, “I am aware of the arguments from some corners that intellectual property may not be as beneficial to developing countries because it limits technology transfer through imitation. I know, also, the assertion that IP increases the prices of medicine, agricultural inputs and many other things.”

    “However, true this may be, embracing IP policies and measures is comparatively, far more beneficial to the overall growth of nations and economies than doing otherwise. Putting in place appropriate IP policies and measures are critical factors in promoting innovation and competitiveness which play key role in economic growth and sustainable development,” Kikwete said.

    For his part, Gurry emphasised the role of innovation as a driver of economic growth during his opening intervention. He also said that “intellectual property is an indispensable mechanism for translating knowledge into commercial assets – IP rights create a secure environment for investment in innovation and provide a legal framework for trading in intellectual assets.”

    Immediately following the WIPO conference, the UN ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review: Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa will be held at the same venue in Dar es Salaam on 14 March. Co-organised by WIPO, the meeting is also hosted by the governments of Tanzania and Japan, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

    According to an organiser, the WIPO-ECOSOC event will “focus on innovation more broadly, but of course with an IP component.” Topics include how innovation can be an enabler for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda. This meeting is part of a series of regional consultations taking place this year, with the next one scheduled to take place at the UN in Geneva in July.

    Return of the African IP Forum

    On the heels of this week’s meetings, the US Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CDIP) and the African Intellectual Property Group (AIPG), a new pro-IP industry association, are co-hosting a Workshop on the Practical Approaches to IP Utilization and Protection in Africa from 19-21 March also at the same venue in Dar es Salaam. According to organisers, the Tanzanian government, the East African Community, the US Patent and Trademark Office, Copyright Office, Department of Justice, Customs and Border Enforcement, Department of State, and African and international private sector stakeholders were involved in the development of the workshop.

    The draft agenda [doc] outlines an event highly focused on protecting IP rights with topics on cooperative approaches to IPR protection, consumer protection and the dangers of counterfeit goods, and effective criminal IPR enforcement.

    Last year, a CLDP-led conference called the “Africa Intellectual Property Forum: Intellectual Property, Regional Integration and Economic Growth in Africa” and scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa from 3-5 April drew heavy criticism from civil society and eventually postponed.

    Governments of the United States, Japan, France, and South Africa were also involved in the organisation of that meeting, as were several intergovernmental organisations, including WIPO. Over 100 non-governmental organisations submitted a letter to Gurry calling for the scrapping of the meeting due to an unbalanced agenda too focused on IP protection and ignoring the importance of flexibilities and compulsory licensing for development.

    A few weeks ago, the South African government organised a development-oriented meeting on African IP in Johannesburg (IPW, Development, 1 March 2013). Its meeting focussed less on protection and more finding appropriate policies to generate local IP and innovation. http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/03/01/speakers-outline-ideas-for-africa-to-find-appropriate-ip-policies/

    So far, civil society has largely been quiet on the three meetings on IP and innovation in Africa taking place in Tanzania this week and next. However, a signer of last year’s petition told Intellectual Property Watch that their “concerns are the same” and that the focus in general is misleading because “using and protecting IP is not a magic bullet for innovation.”

    Related articles:

    http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/12/us-wipo-training-programme-on-ip-rights-in-africa-comes-under-fire/

    http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/26/us-wipo-ip-summit-in-africa-postponed/

     

    Rachel Marusak Hermann may be reached at info@ip-watch.org.

     

    Comments

    1. Series Of Meetings On IP And Innovation In Africa Open In Tanzania | BlogServ says:

      [...] Series Of Meetings On IP And Innovation In Africa Open In Tanzania On the heels of this week's meetings, the US Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CDIP) and the African Intellectual Property Group (AIPG) are co-hosting a Workshop on the Practical Approaches to IP Utilization and Protection in … Read more on Intellectual Property Watch [...]

    2. African Ministers Focus On IP Role In Innovation For Development; Less On Flexibilities | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] the ECOSOC discussions, overlapping the theme of a WIPO conference held over the previous two days (IPW, Developing Country Policy, 12 March 2013). Many of the technology, industry, science, and justice ministers in attendance participated in [...]

    3. African Ministers Focus On IP Role In Innovation For Development; Less On Flexibilities | iprnpk says:

      [...] ECOSOC discussions, overlapping the theme of a WIPO conference held over the previous two days (IPW, Developing Country Policy, 12 March 2013). Many of the technology, industry, science, and justice ministers in attendance participated in [...]

    4. Convergence Of Who’s Who In IP, Innovation, Public Interest In Africa » infojustice says:

      […] Meetings On IP And Innovation In Africa Open In Tanzania […]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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