Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Intellectual Property roundtable to create awareness in Southern Africa

Delegates from countries participating at the Intellectual Property Conference, organised by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), were urged to capitalise on the Round Table on Intellectual Property Topical Issues, an initiative of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which co-sponsored the conference.

In that way, it was argued that those lagging behind in knowledge stand to learn from the experiences of their colleagues who are already ahead in terms of having in place the requisite infrastructure for dealing with challenges presented by Intellectual Property and have resolved related cases in the past.

“The issues, which are split into sessions, are principally designed to enhance development of Intellectual Property within the African Region, as they enable the building of a productive dialogue between ARIPO and member countries,” ┬áBanny Molosiwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, said.

In addition, Molosiwa highlighted the significance of the annual meetings of ARIPO in providing an opportunity for member states to take stock of the Organisation’s achievements and challenges, as well as to initiate strategies for future development.

Molosiwa further pointed out that the Round Table on Topical Issues provides a platform for members of the Administrative Council to deliberate on the contemporary development trends in the field of Intellectual Property and to enable the Council to make informed decisions.

Apparently, the Administrative Council is a bureaucratic component consisting of heads of Intellectual Property Offices, and is responsible for providing technical advice and researched information to the Council of Ministers, which is the highest structure of ARIPO for ultimate implementation in their respective countries.

The council meets every year and submits to the Council of Ministers for approval and endorsement.

“For that reason, I therefore urge you to accord these sessions the usual sense of seriousness that you always portray, for the benefit of the Organization and the respective member states that you represent,” said the Permanent Secretary.

The conference, it is generally believed, should enhance efforts at reducing the widening gap and the digital divide between developed and developing countries, especially African countries, by emboldening the use and protection of intellectual property rights instruments.

Central in the business of the Administrative Council, was the report of the Director General of ARIPO, Gift Sibanda, on implementation of strategic plan covering 2006-2009, followed by Reports on Financial statements, and a Proposal to amend the ARIPO regulations.

The conference agenda also entailed presentation of reports on staff matters, internal audit, and proposals on how the existing linkages and building synergies between ARIPO and National Intellectual Property offices in member states can be strengthened. In addition, there was proposal for the implementation of the mandate on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore.

Oteng Batlhoki, Botswana’s Registrar of Companies, who is set to take over the reins of Chairpersonship of ARIPO’s Administrative Council for the period 2009-2010, from Lesotho’s Registrar General, Sentsuoe Mohau, pointed out that the Administrative Council “will consider these documents with a view to recommending them for discussion to the Council of Ministers.”Intellectual Property is widely recognised as a powerful tool for promoting economic growth┬áand the wealth of nations today, according to┬áMolosiwa.

On that score, Botswana’s rich traditional music and cultural heritage, including poetry, may be salvaged or protected using legislation informed by intellectual property laws.
In conclusion, Batlhoki indicated on Monday that by the close of business, reports showing the extent of progress on cooperation agreements signed between ARIPO and other partners, on the Study on the Trade Mark System in Member states and Proposed Programme of activities and Budget for 2010, would have been done with.

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