Zuma signs intellectual property bill

By on February 10, 2014

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act, 28 of 2013, signed into law by President Jacob Zuma will help protect indigenous knowledge (IK) including copyright and related rights, trade mark, designs and geographical indicators, according to Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry.

Minister Davies says the objectives of the Act are to bring IK holders into the mainstream of the economy and to improve the livelihoods of their communities. “The Act is providing a legal framework for protection of the rights of IKs Holders and empowers communities to commercialise and trade on IKs to benefit the national economy.”

Previously, knowledge gained from working with communities was being used without compensating or acknowledging the originators of the knowledge. One of the main intentions of the Act is to protect the source of the knowledge.

Minister Davies added that key interventions contained in the Act include amongst others to prohibit registration of IK without consent or that is offensive to a particular public.  “The Act provides that business enterprises such as community trusts and cooperatives be formed and need to manage and protect IK of communities. Collecting societies that are not regulated should be regulated beyond the issue of needle time royalty. It also caters for compensation for use, by providing for the negotiation of a benefit sharing agreement regime on Intellectual property  in order to fairly compensate and recognise the IK owner,’ states Minister Davies. 

According to him, Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) will in line with the Act accredit certain institutions which have the necessary capacity, to adjudicate any dispute arising from the application of the Act. “These interventions will be introduced in all domains of intellectual property and that the findings of alternative dispute resolutions can be made an order of court upon application. The High Courts will still have inherent jurisdiction to entertain any dispute pertaining to IK and intellectual property,” concludes Minister Davies.

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