Tag Archives: IP landscape

When can being sued for patent infringements be considered a “badge of honour”?

In the world of smartphones and tablet computers apparently.

This was a comment included in a BBC write-up of the current spat between Apple and Samsung over alleged copying of design.  See the item entitled “Apple sues Samsung for ‘copying’ iPhones and iPad” 

In the article the Business Editor, Tim Weber, says:

“In the world of smartphones and tablet computers, being sued for alleged patent infringements could be considered a badge of honour, a sign your products are cutting edge, a threat to rivals…

..these legal machinations are not that much about who wins them. Mobile innovation is accelerating and the window to exploit each new technology is getting smaller. Lawsuits are a chance to sow doubt, distract, slow down the competition.”

Innovative uses for IPRs and their legal processes will never cease to amaze me!

Africa and Intellectual Property; an article by Jeremy Phillips


This article was brought to my attention by Kalpana Sastry from NAARM in Hyderabad (thanks Kalpana!).  It talks about some of the challenges in various aspects of IP management in Africa.  Many of the problems outlined could equally be applicable to many developing countries outside the African continent however.

I am reluctant to choose points to emphasize from this post – it is all relevant!  What is particularly interesting from the CAS perspective is that this article provides a further affirmation that our NPI project is badly needed and very much on the mark with the kind of support that members can derive by participating.  The NPI is a fledgling international professional society for IP practitioners in developing countries. You can find more details on our main website http://www.cas-ip.org/?page_id=40 Or search this blog for “NPI” tags to see related posts.

Kalpana, who is an NPI member herself, pointed out the following to me when she sent the link;

“Lack of access to relevant documents for IP practice, communications and links, trained manpower (if trained) and demography…. efforts from CAS-IP work actually aim to help IP practice in developing countries overcome some of these very problems”

Strategic use of IP from South Africa?

The Afro-IP blog posted an entry last week about a new law in South Africa regarding IP rights.  The blog post publishes the following quote from the Department of Science and Technology:

“The specific object of the legislation is that intellectual property emanating from publicly financed research and development should be commercialised for the benefit of all South Africans, and protected from appropriation.”

Of course, it is not without criticism – see the linked article here from a technology news site called “IT web”  for some comments from Andrew Rens, who is an intellectual property fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation

“The Bill will have wide-ranging consequences for the South African research community … the country could see a decline in research co-operation from international consortia with universities, a decline in philanthropic funding and a move away from open access.”

New book release; TRIPS and the global IP debate

The Implementation Game: The TRIPS Agreement and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Reform in Developing Countries
I received an email yesterday announcing the release of a new book entitled: The Implementation Game: The TRIPS Agreement and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Reform in Developing Countries.

“[the book] seeks to explain the variation in how developing countries have implemented [TRIPS], highlighting the influence of global IP debates, international pressures, and political dynamics within developing countries. In so doing, the book exposes how power politics occur not just within global trade talks but afterward when countries implement agreements.“

Incidentally, the author, Ms. Carolyn Deere, also founded Intellectual Property Watch.

Strategies for brand protection in Africa. Trademarks, Service Marks and Domain Names.

The latest issue of the World Trademark Review  was entitled “African strategies and developments” – see the lead link for Afro-IP’s blog  posting.  They say:

“The article picks up significant issues in some nine African states, together with ARIPO. … the registration of service marks is not something you can take for granted, since there are still plenty of jurisdictions where such registration is not available.”

Additionally, the article picks up important points regarding domain names registration, cyber-squatting and subsequent enforcement issues in Africa – using several examples.  There is also mention of a new initiative in South Africa to grant extended protection to traditional knowledge.

The problem with the patent system; too many lawyers and not enough inventors?

In an article about the Peer-to-Patent programme“too many lawyers and not enough inventors” was one of the criticisms of the current US patent system (dailyherald.com story link above).  Unfortunately, and jokes aside, that’s not the only criticism.  An overwhelmed system, backlogs of applications as well as changes in pace of technology are some of the reasons contributing to an increase in poor quality patents.  And poor quality patents means more time spent in infringement litigation, which nobody wants (apart from the lawyers perhaps!).  The article outlines some of the opinions for and against the Peer-to-Patent programme, and some of the history and reasoning that lead to its launch.  It could spell an important change in the way patents are issued, and more importantly to the CGIAR, how prior art is identified.