Speakers Outline Ideas for Africa to Find Appropriate IP Policies
IP Watch, 1 March 2013

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Africa is still held captive by colonial borders and has failed to collectively leverage benefit-sharing agreements that result from multinationals’commercial pursuit of indigenous knowledge, said speakers at the Africa IP conference, held from 25-27 February 2013. The issue of applying intellectual property rights to indigenous knowledge, in order to protect holders of this knowledge from exploitation, while at the same time leveraging it for development was a vibrant thread of debate throughout the conference, which was themed “intellectual property and economic growth in Africa.” Rachel Wynberg, natural scientist and environmental policy analyst at the University of Cape Town, highlighted the case of shared knowledge and resources across countries, noting that companies are targeting countries where they know they won’t have biopiracy connotations. She proposed that regional benefit-sharing arrangements be explored amongst African countries, given that indigenous knowledge is often not strictly contained within country borders. Read the article …

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