Gambia Publishes Missing Trade Mark Journals

The Gambian Intellectual Property Office has released 11 trade mark journals ranging in dates from 1993 to 2015. The journals were published by the Gambian State Printing Corporation on 1st February 2016. The published journals represent the trade mark applications filed in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2010, 2013, 2014 and part of 2015. This being the first time a large number of journals with varying dates have been published, there are no precedents on how applicants should proceed. The matter is further complicated by the fact that the journals have not been signed by the Registrar of Trade Marks thereby making it difficult to establish what the effective date of the journal

MTN Ripping Off Composers Royally ?

The Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) has recently alleged that mobile network provider MTN owes almost R1 million in music royalties dating back to 2014. MTN uses and sells music as ringtones or ringbacks through services such as Caller Tunez and the MTN Play Store. CAPASSO is responsible for collecting and distributing song-writing and publishing royalties to its members and claims that MTN has failed to pay composers their royalties due for music it sells through its value added platforms. The South African Copyright Act in its current form (the amendments to the Act have been discussed here) prohibits the broadcasting, transmission or playing of a sound recording wi

IP Crime Unit in Zambia

At the 10th Session of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement held in November 2015. The deputy Commissioner of the Zambia Police service presented a paper on the national strategy to combat intellectual Property crimes in Zambia. The paper found here, highlights strategies developed to enforce intellectual property rights by the Zambian Police Intellectual Property Unit. The Zambia Police Intellectual Property Unit (IPU), is unit of the Zambian police that is specialized in intellectual property and cybercrimes. Along with enforcing right holders IP rights, it advises the general service police, foreign and local businesses, governments and non –profit organizations on intellectual prop

Validity of Selection Patents in South Africa

In a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, the court looked at the requirements of disclosure for the purpose of deciding the validity of a so-called “selection patent”. A selection patent is one which claims a specific subclass of a previously disclosed class of compounds, where the subclass has some special advantage which is peculiar to it as a whole. The main issue in this appeal was whether or not a generalised description (of the class) in a prior art document discloses a specific matter (subclass) covered by the selection patent in such a way which enables the skilled person to arrive at the claimed invention. The prior art in question essentially teaches an

Invalidation and Opposition Hearings Temporarily Suspended in Botswana

Invalidation and opposition hearings for trade marks have been temporarily suspended in Botswana due to a human resource shortaged in the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA). On 25 January 2016, the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) issued a notice on the processing and handling of trade mark opposition hearings and invalidations. The notice stated that CIPA was unable to conduct hearings for trademark oppositions and invalidations until further notice. Late last year CIPA underwent a restructuring proccess.The proccess resulted in the loss of critical staff needed to conduct the opposition and invalidation hearings, While the office is working on a interi

New IP Code for Mozambique

On December 31st the official gazette of Mozambique published the decree of the Council of Ministers approving a new intellectual property code for Mozambique. The last review of the IP code was in 2006 and it is said that this recent review was to accommodate the new challenges in the field. The review involved various stakeholders and is set to enter into force at the end of March 2016. For more information kindly contact Carole Theuri

Protection for Oral Literature in Kenya’s Proposed Traditional Knowledge Bill

Discussions around oral literature in Africa in most cases refer to the African cultural tradition of transmitting culture from one generation to the next through folk tales, songs, proverbs and poetry. The primary purpose being to teach the listener important traditional values, morals and livelihood techniques. Oral literature is not unique to the African continent, but where other countries have been able to preserve and protect their oral literature, very little has been done on the African continent to reduce the exploitation of this important tradition. Oral literature has been an important aspect of Kenya’s history, with oral traditions and indigenous knowledge being passed down throu

ARIPO-ACS39: The Proposed Road Map for the Arusha Protocol on the Protection of New Plant Varieties

On July 6 2015 a new protocol for the protection of new varieties of plants was adopted at an ARIPO Diplomatic conference in Arusha, Tanzania, see our post on it here. The new protocol, dubbed the Arusha Protocol was the subject of a further discussion at the 39th session of the Administrative Council in Lusaka, Zambia where the proposed road map for implementation was decided upon. The agreed upon road map for the adoption of the Arusha protocol for the protection of new varieties of plants is as follows: January to February, 2016: Preparation of an initial draft of the regulations by a legal draftsman. March t

Burundi Accedes to the Berne Convention and WIPO Copyright Treaty

It appears that the Republic of Burundi is starting to settle back into the normal course of business after the recent political unrest and joining into global commerce. This appears from the fact that Burundi has recently acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the WIPO Copyright Treaty. According to the notifications issued by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) (which can be accessed here and here respectively), the instruments of accession to these treaties were both deposited with WIPO on 12 January 2016 and as such will enter into force in Burundi on 12 April 2016. On this date, Burundi will also become a member of the body

OAPI Suspends Agents Opposed to Madrid Accession

Following the initial controversy that surrounded OAPI’s accession to the Madrid protocol and threats to withdraw accreditation for agents who were vocally critical of this move (discussed in an earlier blog post here), OAPI has gone ahead to suspend two agents from the law firm Cabinet ISIS. A recent notice on the OAPI webpage captured below and here sets out that Cameroonian lawyers Christian Dudieu Tips Djomga and Judith Samantha Tchimmoe Fezeu of Cabinet ISIS, as of January 21, 2016 have been temporarily suspended. Moreover, pending further examination of their disciplinary records, the two agents are barred from making any representations (even through intermediaries) to OAPI and pract

South African court sets royalty rates for playing copyrighted music in retail outlets

South African court sets royalty rates for playing copyrighted music in retail outlets: In a case decided in November 2015 in the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), South Africa’s highest court for non-constitutional matters, the Court has set the royalty rates payable by retailers for playing copyrighted music in their stores. The case was brought to the SCA on appeal from the Copyright Tribunal, a body established by the Copyright Act of 1978 to determine, among others, reasonable royalty rates where no agreement can be reached on such rates between the relevant copyright owner(s) or their representative licencing bodies and the proposed users of such copyrighted works. In this c

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