Tag Archives: Kenya

Branding Kenya

Following up on our recent post, Rebranding Africa, I was most interested to read about a new government initiative, the Brand Kenya Board:

“Brand Kenya Board is tasked with the responsibility of identifying and refining the key attributes about Kenya, that contribute positively to the image and reputation of the Nation. A strong, believable and easily recognizable brand is all the difference between attracting positive attention or none at all. The board would like Kenya to be internationally recognized for its people, its natural resources and its position as a key player in the East African region’s socio-economic development. Athletics, culture, tourism, horticulture, development in ICT, telecommunication, education and our heritage can contribute generously towards improving the country’s attractiveness to holiday makers, nature conservationists, artists, investors and other nationals who would like to make Kenya their home.”

The Board’s mandate is “to ensure that an integrated national brand is created, harnessed and sustained in the long term”.   A large number of state institutions – from the Airports Authority to the Tea Board – are participating, and Kenya’s foreign missions (mostly embassies and consulates) have been tasked to collaborate. Kenya has a solid base (exports, tourism and Out of Africa!) on which to build, and the initiative seems like a strong move in the right direction. If countries with the potential (“assets”) and the capacity to engage in brand-building do so, there is hope that the negative stereotypes about “Africa” can be reversed, even if only on a regional basis.

Post written by Peter Bloch    , consultant to CAS-IP

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IP case studies from four agricultural research institutions in developing countries

http://www.cas-ip.org/public/uploads/2009/04/compilation_of_4_working_papers_npi_2008.pdf

The National Partners Initiative (NPI) of CAS-IP has published this week a compilation of 4 working papers entitled: “Institutionalization of Intellectual Property Management: Case Studies from four Agricultural Research Institutions in Developing Countries”.  The full text can be viewed by clicking on the lead link above. These case studies aim to share country experiences from developing countries in the areas surrounding IP policy making, policy implementation and use of IPRs by researchers for leveraging more benefits to the stakeholders, people, institutions and countries. The results of the case studies have been prepared as four working papers. The working papers are on the following topics:

Intellectual Property Management Regime in the Indian National Agricultural Research Systems
(R. Kalpana Sastry, India)

This case study presents an overview of the changing environment for public research organizations in the Indian Agricultural Research System with respect to intellectual property management. In its commitment to cater to its broader societal objectives, the system has been challenged with growing sovereignty and restrictions on the sharing of germplasm, privatization of knowledge, and pressures to reduce demands on public finances through the commercialization of research products. Starting with a review of the relevant legal and policy documents to understand the background of the obligations at national and at the international level, followed by a brief review of the role and functions played by some statutory agencies in India, the implications for the National Agricultural Research System were studied. Against the realization of need for IP policy for the large system, the provisions and governance model of the new IP policy of the national agricultural organization like the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was analyzed. Then the implementation of guidelines now in place for two constituent institutes Project Directorate of Poultry (PDP) and Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), animal- based and crop-based institutes respectively, were studied in detail from the IP policy perspective. The study highlights on the implementation of guidelines, structural adjustments in decision making activities in IP management at institutes and at understanding the specific issues of IP management relevant to the research mandate of these institutes.

Establishment of Plant Breeders’ Rights System in Tanzania: Achievements and Challenges
(Patrick Ngwediagi, Tanzania)

The study is on establishment of plant breeders’ rights system in Tanzania: achievements and challenges seeks to review appropriateness of the current plant breeders’ rights system in Tanzania and its contribution to an effective sui generis system, and attempts to formulate an appropriate model in line with the TRIPS Agreement. The results indicate a need for a benchmark review of process of activities to be useful towards the creation and operationalization of a sui generis system. The involvement of the stakeholders in this exercise in Tanzania proved to be very useful exercise and should be continued as many other developing countries develop models to suit the needs in their niche areas. The findings suggest a strong need of such actions to enable policy makers take prudent decisions while complying with the TRIPs agreement. Issues of benefit sharing and access to biological resources especially in PVP context need to evolve if the IP protection systems are to bring the needed changes for the stakeholders.

A Review of the Nigerian System of Intellectual Property
(Victor M. Ibigbami and Christopher U. Orji, Nigeria)

Nigeria is taking steps to comply with the new IP regime ushered in by the WTO TRIPS and supported by African Union (AU). The issues such as Plant Variety Protection (PVP) and patent for microorganisms are technological in nature and the country should exercise the sui generis option provided in the TRIPS agreement to develop suitable laws. It is necessary that such laws may have instruments to be able to be used beyond the country’s existing IP framework like through the aegis of AU Model Law. This study also points to the need to amend the National Crop Varieties and Livestock Breeds Registration and Release Committee Decree 33 of 1987 in Nigeria to provide space for Plant Variety Protection (PVP), Animal Breeders Rights, and Farmers’ Rights. The Committee is currently administered by the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) in the Ministry of Science and Technology and institutional mechanism should be put in place. Analysis of two grants relating to biotechnological related inventions and consequent efforts for licensing the technology indicate the need for regulation of such inventions in terms of best practices methods. Providing strong legal mechanisms for biotechnological inventions through National Biotechnology Law may lead to institutionalizing the norms for biosafety through institutions like National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA). This will help regulate research on microorganisms in terms of IP creation, benefit sharing and on biopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals which the patent law presently does not address. It is envisaged that such measures would lead to increased investment in technology development and the resulting products can better the lives of the people of Nigeria.

Establishing a Technology Transfer Office in an Academic Institution in a Developing Country: Experience of Moi University
(Antony S. Mbayaki, Kenya)

The study relates to the experience of Moi University (in Eldoret Kenya) on the establishment of the first technology transfer office in a university or public research institution in Kenya. This study indicates the efforts of the policy makers leading to the establishment of the office at the institutional level. Nuances in the process of establishment, the challenges that faced and continue to open up, the manner of countering and overcoming have been discussed. The success and the roadblocks during the process serve as vital lessons for several other organizations that are now in the process of establishing Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in academic institutions especially in Africa. The study indicates that the benefits accrued through such offices placed in institutions of higher learning are enormous. If technology transfer has to be disseminated to reach to end users in a climate of ‘win-win’ situation, it is necessary to institutionalize the technology transfer in all institutes. Since the provisions in law have to be actualized and enforced, TTOs will have a major role in overseeing that potential and actual through sound IP management reach all stakeholders.

Post written by Karine Malgrand     consultant to CAS-IP

Row over Maasai’s genes and new biosafety law in Kenya

http://afro-ip.blogspot.com/2009/03/monday-roundup.html
http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/540420/-/view/printVersion/-/b34qgbz/-/index.html

The Kenyan Parliament has recently enacted the Biosafety Act 2/2009  to partially regulate activities in genetically modified organisms, to establish the National Biosafey Authority, and for related purposes.   To view the text of the Act visit the Kenya Law website.

Some believe that the Act was partly the result of an acknowledgment that Kenya needs to strengthen its biotechnology law due to allegations that foreign institutions are trying to patent Kenyan genetic capacity as in the case of the University of Maryland in the US.  In this case the University and its lead-researcher, Sandra Tishkof, have applied to the EPO for a patent under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to seek to patent the Maasai’s mutated genes which allows for higher than usual level of tolerance to milk. However, Ms Tishkof declares in a response to an article run by The Times (South Africa)  that the application was of a defensive nature in order to protect the invention from intellectual prospectors, and that the University would only want to benefit indigenous populations of Africa, by measures (for example through the creation of a trust fund) to be discussed and agreed with its African collaborators (KEMRI – Kenya Medical Research Institute).  The patent as it appears on Espacenet can be viewed here.

It is interesting to see how the press has depicted the event taking automatically a position of suspicious against developed countries. We look forward to see whether this news sparks more debate, both on the developed-developing countries battle over patenting natural resources, and on the possibility, ethical and legal, of patenting human genes. 

Blog post written by Francesca Re Manning, CAS-IP www.cas-ip.org

How do IPRs and IP help public agricultural research in developing/emerging economy countries?

the National Partners Initiative
I’m continuing to blog from the the National Partners Initiative workshop being held in Mombasa.  I have been talking to the participants this week about where they see IP making a positive contribution in agricultural research in their countries.  I wanted to take this opportunity to share on this blog some of the comments:

From Indonesia:
“IP rights encourage scientists to develop their career & innovation.  Patents and copyright provided incentives at a national research centre’ ”

From Malaysia:
“IP helps the potential to commercialize an R&D project.  It adds value to the R&D and indicates a certain quality standard”

From China:
“IP improved income into local breeding institute”

From Tanzania
“breeders work hard to find their own varieties – it gives breeder incentives and boosts their innovation when they have Plant Variety Protection”

From India:
“the grant of USPTO protection in the well-known cases of Tumeric and Basmati changed the face of IP in India.  Law makers were mobilised and sped up the implementation of TRIPS.  This has helped protect traditional knowledge and build livelihoods for producers in India.”

From Kenya:
“IP awareness has an impact on the attention paid to IP clauses in agreements.  It helps parties to understand roles and responsibilities and helps manage risk.  By formalising in this way partnerships are more effective because a mutual understanding is reached.”