Tag Archives: south africa

TK and Folklore in South African IP law bill; critical analysis shouldn’t lead to abandonment

Thanks to Irina Curca from CAS-IP who sent the above link and the following comment:

“A new wave of debate just hit the historically “tough” iceberg of the Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. The Amendment to the South African Intellectual Property Law Bill is now being severely criticized as “abomination that deserves to be thrown on the legal scrapheap”, and is being accused (by a legal expert from Owen Dean of Spoor & Fisher) of being a legal non-sense.

It seems that some of the critiques Owen Dean of Spoor & Fisher can be recognized as valid, since an attentive analysis of the Bill reveals several grey areas which needs further legal refinement. To mention just a few, the terms “indigenous origin” and ” traditional culture” are not defined. Also, the traditional intellectual property assets  (TIP) are supposed (by the Bill) to be managed by an ad hoc institution (a national trust fund), but the rules of the representation of the community within the fund are not defined by the legislator

However, in our view, these shortfalls should not be used, neither manipulated to invalidate the Bill! The recent amendment, in fact, brings with it a huge improvement as it finally allows the communities to protect their inventions, IPRs and to commercialize and license their inventions. This is a huge step forward, as opposed to the original Bill which was supposed to protect the IPRs of the individuals only.”

For further comments check the link below: http://afro-ip.blogspot.com/2009/08/traditional-knowldege-aladdins-lessons.html

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.”