Monday, October 15, 2007

African countries join the patent game

Africans are looking around the world and realizing that intellectual property protection is important and key to guarding one's intangible property. African countries are starting to collaborate and share resources for IP protection. In a publicly heated debate; Starbucks coffee corporation was trying to patent Ethiopia coffee brands. However, to the chagrin of Starbucks, Ethiopia won this debate and Starbucks agreed to pay the country of Ethiopia royalty rights. This issue wouldn't have even occurred if Ethiopia, or the African Union had a strong patent or intellectual property law.

From Science and Development Network

Researchers in six African countries can now better protect their rights and benefit from the commercialisation of their research as a result of a project to improve their countries' capacity to address intellectual property issues.

Researchers from 22 health and medical research institutes in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo have benefited from a three-year project to build an intellectual property 'hub' through which they share resources to process patent applications and commercialise research results.

The project — the Virtual Communal Intellectual Property Service (SECOVIPI) project — was initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN).

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