UPOV Governing Body Meets This Week Amid Civil Society Concerns Over Harmonisation

Plant Variety - Flickr - Dwight Sipler

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is holding meetings of its governing and technical bodies this week. In particular, the UPOV Council is expected to renew Francis Gurry’s mandate as the organisation’s secretary-general, approve technical documents, and confirm the conformity of a Tanzanian plant breeders’ rights act.

Meanwhile, civil society has sounded the alarm over what it considers to be efforts to harmonise the application and examination procedures by the seed industry. Separately, a civil society study, carried out on three developing countries claims that UPOV 1991 might be threatening the global right to food.

“Trade Matters” For BRICS In Africa, So Does Internet Connectivity

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Last week’s World Trade Organization Public Forum hosted dozens of panels on the general theme of “why trade matters.” A panel focusing on the role of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) found that the new BRICS Development Bank could foster infrastructure development in Africa, while another panel said that removing barriers to internet connectivity is key to economic growth.

Nagoya Protocol Enters Into Force, Will Be Tested In Months To Come

Rain Forest - Flickr - Sue Bowen

The Nagoya Protocol, a treaty expected to ensure greater access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair benefit-sharing of the benefits that could be derived from those resources, will enter into force on 12 October, almost four years after it was agreed.

Alarm Over Monsanto-Backed Push To Acquire African Seed Company

Maize seeds - Flickr - Ian Hayhurst

An African civil society group has voiced concerns about the takeover by giant multinational seed companies of home-grown African seed companies, the latest of which involves Africa’s SeedCo.

Formal IP System Does Not Fit Africa, LDCs Need Technological Capacity, Speakers Say

Tobias Schonwetter

On the last day of the World Trade Organization Public Forum, a panel discussed the relationship between intellectual property and innovation in Africa, in particular in the informal sector. The formal IP system does not seems to fit, and least-developed countries need a sound technological base to be able to use the IP system. Separately, a European Patent Office study shows that Africa has a vast yet untapped potential in renewable energy.

Global Value Chains In Africa: Set Of Preconditions Needed To Be Profitable, Panel Says

Susan Bingi address WTO Public Forum

At the World Trade Organization Public Forum last week, a panel explored opportunities for Africa in global and regional value chains. A certain level of development needs to be achieved so that countries can benefit from global value chains, speakers said.

Uganda Government Moves Towards Top-Level Domain Management

Uganda Internet Luwana

The use of internet continues to grow rapidly in Uganda. The Uganda Communications Commission’s quarterly report reveals that the country had over eight million internet users by the end of first quarter of 2014.

Now, the government of Uganda is involved in a struggle over who should have the custodial rights to manage the .ug domain, the country’s Country Code Top-Level Domain, (ccTLD), which is currently run by a third party.

Interview With KIPO Commissioner Kim Young-min

KIPO- KIM Young-min

South Korea is now considered one of the most influential countries in the IP field. Intellectual Property Watch exchanged a set of questions for Kim Young-min, commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) since 2013, speaking about KIPO’s policies for increasing international cooperation, reducing first action pendency, and preventing “bad faith” trademark applicants in Korea from making unfair profits.

African Declaration On Internet Rights And Freedoms

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Infojustice.org writes: Last week, 23 civil society groups released the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms at the Internet Governance Forum, infojustice.org reports. The declaration is organized around twelve key principles, including Freedom of Expression and the Right to Information and Open Data.

Guest Post: Nine Mandatory Licences Allow Greater Access To Medicines In Ecuador

Health 1

What is a mandatory licence? Mandatory licenses are a legal remedy within the intellectual property flexibilities provided by the World Trade Organization allowing a government to grant permission to third parties to produce a patented product or use a patented process without the consent of the patentee, in order to address a priority status for the country.