After progressing through several drafts ( e.g. 2012 and 2013), the AU adopted the final PAIPO statute on 31 January 2016. There has already been a lot of commentary on PAIPO and its draft statutes.* This post merely seeks to highlight the differences between the 2012 and 2013 drafts and the 2016 final statute in tabular format (see below).The most striking changes are to the tenor of the preamble, the characterisation of PAIPO as a specialised AU agency, its organs, the move from prohibiting to permitting reservations and the new provisions added to the final statute (arts 18, 21, 22, 23, 27 and 30). The Preamble now expressly refers to ‘the cultural and socio-economic development of Africa’; recognises ‘international human rights laws and international agreements on sustainable development and the protection of indigenous knowledge’ and refers to the WIPO Development Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals and the AU’s Agenda 2063. This hopefully signals a more development friendly orientation.
* for example see C Ncube Intellectual Property Policy, Law and Administration in Africa: Exploring Continental and Sub-regional Co-operation (2015) 126 – 139;Y Mupangavanhu ‘African Union Rising to the Need for Continental IP Protection? The Establishment of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization’ (2015) 59 Journal of African Law 1–24;C Ncube & E Laltaika E. ‘A new intellectual property organization for Africa?’ (2013) 8(2) Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice 114-117; Karjiker, S., 2012. ‘Sizing up the ‘ill-conceived PAIPO Draft Statute‘ 6 November 2012. IP Watch Insider Views’.
Judging from the chatter amongst the participants at the Africa IP forum (25 – 27 February 2013) the Pan African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) was on the minds of many. However, it was not officially on the agenda and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Davies’ welcome address skirted the issue. Prof Esme du Plessis, who chaired the second plenary (Access to medicines and incentivizing local production of generic medicines in Africa) mentioned it in passing in her commentary on the session but there was no subsequent discussion of the issue.
PAIPO is the joint creation of the African Union (AU) and NEPAD (see timeline and document archive here) and I hoped that representatives of these organisations would be at the Africa IP Forum. The formal acknowledgements made at the beginning of the forum did not refer to any AU or NEPAD functionary or official so it is reasonable to conclude that none was in attendance. The participant list was not circulated so I was not able to confirm whether the AU or NEPAD were represented at the Forum.
It would have been beneficial to discuss PAIPO at the Forum particularly as concerns have been raised about whether enough stakeholder consultation had been undertaken in relation to PAIPO. As many stakeholders attended the Forum it could have been used as some form of stakeholder engagement on the issue. The Forum was also a perfect platform on which to provide complete and up to date information on the status of the organisation as well as the role being taken by African states in its creation/development. Linda Daniels of IP Watch spoke to the Deputy Director General in the Department of Trade and Industry and reports that there are some hints of South African support or even leadership of PAIPO (see Linda’s report here). Hopefully all will be revealed at the May AU Summit, scheduled for 19-27 May (see AU website here for details).
reposted from infojustice
Since the publication of my post (PAIPO is dead. Long live PAIPO) last week, I have received the full text of the Ministerial Decisions passed at Brazzaville in November 2012 (AUMINST Dec. (V) (01)) from the AU.
The relevant paragraph (2.2.15) reads:
AMCOST takes note of the draft statutes of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) and commends the [African] Commission for the progress made so far in the implementation of the AU Assembly Heads of State and Governments’ decision Assembly/Decision AU/Dec.138 (VII). AMCOST requests the Commission to liaise with AMCOST Bureau and take the necessary actions to implement the assembly decision by 2013 in consultation with sectors dealing with intellectual property in Member States.
A University World News report ‘Political boost for university and research initiatives‘ (2 February 2013) provides more detail on this decision. It reports that AMCOST V asked the Commission to convene an IP Summit by May 2013 ‘to debate implementation of the organization.’ Therefore it appears that PAIPO is on the rise, like a phoenix, from the ashes. If all goes according to plan, there will be concerted efforts to move it forward this year, primarily through the proposed summit.
It will be interesting to see how the Commission proceeds with regard to this Summit – its structure/format and how open the consultative process will be. I would certainly welcome the opportunity to participate in any open deliberations, as I am sure would many others with an interest in this matter.