Use or Intention to Use for the Purpose of Filing Trade Mark Applications in Namibia and ARIPO

One of the most basic principles relating to trade marks is use: a trade mark is anything that is used or intended to be used to distinguish the goods and/or services of one trader from those of others in trade; a registered trade mark not used within a certain time after registration may be removed from the register; trade mark applications are filed in the name of the proprietor of a trade mark who is using or intends to use the relevant trade mark. In most countries, an application can be based on any use or intention to use on the part of the applicant, being the proprietor of that trade mark, whether the applicant intends to use the trade mark in the relevant country himself or whether

Rwanda’s Akabanga Chilli Oil Madrid Registration learns from the Missteps of Sriracha

On 15 September 2015 Rwandese company Enterprise Rwanda filed an application for the registration of its trade mark for popular Rwandan chilli oil "Akabanga", in 15 countries through the international trade mark application "Madrid" system. Akabanga is made from 80% pili pili (chilli) extract and 20% vegetable oil. The oil is sold in small bottles, similar to that of eye drops, reflecting its potency. With Chilli experts stating that the heat level measures just under 100,000 Scovial units, a few drops is all that is needed to get the requisite chilli kick. The buzz developing around Akabanga follows in the footsteps of Vietnamese “Sriracha” chilli sauce, now a household name in many count

Kenya to Lift Ban on GMO’s

Despite the concerns of smallholder farmers and anti GMO campaigners, Kenya is set to lift its 2012 ban on genetically modified organisms (GMO) by November 2015. This announcement was made in August by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto who said the government would legalise the use of GMO technology and GMO seeds in two months. The main concern for smallholder farmers, is the possible expense of patented GMO seeds that prohibit re-use, require royalties to be paid for continued use or need to be used with expensive chemicals for best possible crop. On the other hand, the concern of anti GMO campaigners is that GMO products pose various health hazards. To ease the concerns of the anti GMO

Is there a need for an Alternative Dispute Mechanism for Copyright Infringement in Nigeria?

The Nigerian Federal High court recently handed down a judgement in a copyright infringement case thirty years after the initial suit was filed. For close to 30 years, popular Nigerian afro pop musician King Sunny Ade has been following up on a suit he filed against record manufacturing company African Songs and its subsidiary Take Your Choice Stores in 1975. On November 13 2015 the High Court awarded King Sunny Ade N500 million ($2 500,000) as damages for copyright infringement and N3 Million ($15,000) thousand dollars for costs he incurred in prosecuting the case. The basis for the dispute arose in 1975 at the expiry of King Sunny Ade five year contract with African Songs to reproduce and

Opportunities and Challenges in Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry

The slower growth in developed Western economies presents an opportunity for investment in Africa for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. A 2015 report by McKinsey & Company states that in the years between 2003 and 2013, the value of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry increased by almost 5 times. The market is projected to double in value from US$ 20 billion to between US$ 40 billion and US$ 60 billion by 2020. This growth is speculated to be the result of urbanisation, increased healthcare capacity and an increased focus on domestic drug manufacture in the region.[1] However, potential investors face several challenges that are unique to the continent. Operationally, due to electricity

First look at the 2015 Draft of the Nigerian Copyright Bill

The Registrar of the Copyright Comission recently released a notice requesting for comments on a newly drafted Copyright Bill found here and here . Since its independence in 1960, Nigeria has had two indigenous copyright legislations: The Copyright Decree of 1970; and The Copyright Decree 47 of 1988 (later codified as Copyright Act, Chapter C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 - following amendments in 1992 and 1999). The being the current operating legislation. Nigeria has not had a holistic review of its policy and legal framework on Copyright since the promulgation of the Copyright Decree of 1988, despite there being many significant developments both in the international and r

Court of Appeal Validates Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria’s Right to Sue for Copyright Infringe

The Nigeria Court of Appeal has recently granted the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) the right to administer, protect or sue for copyright infringement despite it not being a collecting society approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) according to its Facebook page (its official website being currently “under construction”), is an incorporated collective association of authors, composers, arrangers and publishers of music, whose constitution on plain reading of the description, is similar to that of a collecting society. A collecting society in Nigeria is defined by Section 32 B (8) of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 1992 (th

Africa performs in the Global Innovation Index

Further to our blog post about AT Kearney’s African Retail Development Index (ARDI) report (which can be accessed here), we are happy to report that a number of African countries have also performed quite well in the 8th annual Global Innovation Index 2015 (GII) published jointly by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD. The report can be accessed and downloaded here. The top performing African country is Mauritius (ranked 49th), which was unfortunately not part of the ARDI report. However, the next placed African country, South Africa (ranked 60th), came in at 6th on the ARDI ranking. Other ARDI ranked countries that made the GII include Botswana

Investment Registration for Rwanda Now Online

Ranked by the World Bank as the third easiest place to do business in Africa, recent developments in Rwanda may see it move a notch up the ranks following the launch of a new online platform for investment registration and issuance of environmental impact assessment certificates. Launched in October, the platform will enable investors to track and process tax exemption requests as well as request site assessments and allow for the submission of applications for the issuance of various business and compliance related certificates. The platform is run by the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) who is responsible for the issuance of certificates of operation to first time Investors into Rwanda.Thi

Legislative Developments in Zimbabwe

In May 2006, it was widely reported in the media that the Zimbabwean parliament intended to come up with legislation to deal with cyber crime. This legislation was to be contained in the National ICT Policy. After a nine year delay, the draft Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill appears ready. One of the more controversial clauses allows the government to conduct surveillance of citizens through forensic tools placed on electronic communication devices. Furthermore, the parliament of Zimbabwe (currently in session at the time of writing) is said to be about to propose the Electronic Transaction and Electronic Commerce Bill. The ostensible aim of this legislation is to set a basis for governme

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