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Posts Tagged: "South Africa"

Tillis Pushes Tai Again on TRIPS IP Waiver Proposal, as South Africa Asks to Delay Delivery of Vaccines

Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Ranking Member on the Senate IP Subcommittee, wrote to Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative who is responsible for negotiating an IP Waiver to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). This TRIPS IP Waiver is generated by proposals submitted by South Africa and India and seeks the waiver patent and trade secret protections relating to COVID-19 innovations. This is the fifth such letter Tillis has sent Tai. As noted by Senator Tillis and many commentators, including here on IPWatchdog, the proposed TRIPS IP Waiver is nothing more than an attempt to steal intellectual property rights covering important innovations that took nearly a generation to bring to fruition. And now we have definitive proof.

DABUS Gets Its First Patent in South Africa Under Formalities Examination

South Africa’s patent office has granted the first patent for an invention conceived by an artificial intelligence (AI) inventor, DABUS. The country does not have a substantive patent examination system, and thus the significance of the grant may not be as great as it would be in other jurisdictions—but the DABUS team is celebrating. The patent is for “a food container based on fractal geometry,” and was accepted by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission on June 24. The notice of issuance was published in the July 2021 Patent Journal.   

India and South Africa’s COVID Vaccine Proposal to the WTO: Why Patent Waiver Must Be Considered Over Compulsory Licensing

While coronavirus spent the majority of 2020 wreaking havoc on earth, pharmaceutical companies have been busy at work trying to invent a vaccine to combat it. Several companies, such as Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, have competed neck and neck to be the first to deliver a cure to the world. Renowned pharmaceutical companies have been successful in developing the vaccine, which will be protected under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS).

The Costs of Obtaining and Maintaining a Patent in the BRICS Economies

BRICS is an acronym for an association of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Over the last 25 years, the BRICS economies have been at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the sands of the global economy towards developing economies. This is exemplified by their share in the global economy… Developing a patent filing strategy that includes BRICS economies could be challenging due to the presence of varying national legislation, each mandating its own set of procedures. A precise idea of the costs that could be incurred will go a long way in facilitating strategic decision-making and budget forecasting.

A TWIST in the tale: Not your typical cola war

This case was not your typical “cola war”, but rather involved TWIST, the well-known carbonated beverage brand which has been available in South Africa since the 1970s (originally as LEMON TWIST). Atlantic is the proprietor in South Africa of the TWIST, LEMON TWIST and DIET TWIST trade marks in relation to non-alcoholic drinks falling in class 32. PepsiCo applied to register the trade marks PEPSI TWIST and a PEPSI TWIST label, also in relation to non-alcoholic beverages in class 32… In finding in favor of Atlantic in the opposition, the Court felt it necessary to only rule on the issue of confusing similarity, ie. whether the proposed PEPSI TWIST trade marks were sufficiently similar to Atlantic’s trade marks to create a likelihood of deception or confusion.

The Costs of Patenting in Africa: A Tale of Three Intellectual Property Systems

The African economy, which is home to more than a billion people, has tripled since the year 2000 (Michael Lalor; 2014) and currently houses 9 of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world (Spoor & Fisher; 2016), presenting immense business opportunities. In this article, we shall take a look at the patenting systems in Africa, which are a complicated mix of National and Regional systems, and the costs involved… The lack of a single regional patent office makes the process of obtaining patents in Africa an extremely challenging one as applicants have to navigate their way through a bundle of regional and national legislations, each mandating its own set of procedures.

A Changing Patent Landscape: U.S. no longer the most patent friendly jurisdiction in the world

At this moment in history almost everything we thought we knew about global patent protection is being challenged. The U.S. is not the most patent friendly jurisdiction in the world, instead being tied for 10th with Hungary, which really puts into perspective the fall from grace patent rights are having in America… There is no doubt that the U.S. continues to take steps backwards due to variety of self- inflicted wounds. The omnipresent threats of more patent reform, a Supreme Court that has created unprecedented uncertainty surrounding what is patent eligible (see e.g., here, here and here), and a Patent Trial and Appeal Board that has been openly hostile to property owners (see e.g., here and here), allows harassment of certain patent owners over and over again, all the while failing in its mission to provide relief from patent trolls. Meanwhile, a number of countries around the world have taken positive steps forward on the patent front, including countries you might not ordinarily consider as patent friendly jurisdictions.

Protection of Official Names of States and Prevention of their Registration and Use as Trademarks

Protection of the official names of States and prevention of their registration and use as trademarks have been the focus of attention of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications at the World Intellectual Property Organization (the “SCT”) for over six years (since June 2009). Each of the WIPO Member States has both its own national procedures with their peculiarities and some coinciding positions on the subject. Generally speaking, when performing the examination, the competent national authority examines the sign applied for registration as a trademark and consisting of or containing the name of a State in light of formal and substantive legal requirements, like any other sign.

Innovation can create economic success in developing countries facing the middle-income trap

A rising tide lifts all boats. While an age-old saying, the concept is relatively simple really. Of course, the path to broad based economic opportunity for all has been elusive for many countries. If underdeveloped and developing countries are going to transform economically, they need to encourage and support innovation. That means many countries like those facing the so called middle income trap like China, South Africa and Brazil, may want to think about IP protection and enforcement and what it could mean for economic development, in terms of encouraging foreign investment, and with respect to raising the quality of life.

Minimizing costs while ensuring foreign patent maintenance fees are timely paid

A few years ago, a clearly irritated client asked me why European maintenance fees were so expensive. Apparently, he had consulted the EPO schedule of fees and found my recent quote to be much higher than the government fee. The final quote in this case was more than double the government fee, which itself is not a small amount as any practitioner who prosecutes European patent applications knows. I had not realized that the annuity payment firm I was using had slowly increased its rates over the years to an unreasonable level. This started a reflection on how to minimize costs to my clients while still ensuring that the maintenance fees were paid.

Protecting Innovation is not ‘Satanic Genocide’: Intellectual Property Policy in South Africa

South Africa currently faces a stark choice between protecting and incentivizing innovation and stymying life-saving therapeutic breakthroughs. Policymakers must choose between shoring up the protections that encourage the development of medicines that enhance and extend life, or sabotaging innovation through the weakening of the patent system. South Africa is purported to have the highest number of people living with HIV in the world, people who have the most to gain from breakthrough therapies. Innovative medicines have contributed to the 85 percent decline in the death rate from HIV/AIDS since 1995. The benefits of future medicines will become a reality only if these medicines are incentivized and developed. Strong, effective IP protection is essential to that process.

The Importance of Protecting Incremental, Improvement Innovation

Innovation provides new therapies and breakthrough treatments that extend and enhance life. The scientific and financial resources required for these advances are an investment worth making and an important precedent for global health. Patents encourage those innovations, making cutting-edge treatments a reality. Patents give innovation life. Current efforts to amend existing intellectual property legislation to “fix” the patent system will only undermine the incentives that encourage innovation. All innovation, both breakthrough discoveries and incremental improvements, is valuable and should be protected and rewarded. India, Brazil, South Africa and other emerging economies should take note. Their proposed changes, aimed at weakening intellectual property rights protections, are misguided and potentially very damaging to public health.