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Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) South Africa - IP policy

PAIPO at the Africa IP Forum: The elephant in the room

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).

Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) Uncategorized

PAIPO is dead! Long live PAIPO!

Posted on infojustice on January 29, 2013 

[Reposted from AfroLeo] “PAIPO is dead! Long live PAIPO!” Thus exclaims Afro Leo’s friend and PAIPO-watcher Caroline Ncube, who has just sent us the latest news on this very sensitive, potentially valuable proposal:

Afro-IP carried an impassioned discussion on the Draft PAIPO Statute last year and a petition on PAIPO was hosted on In a recent paper in the Journal of Intellectual Property and Practice (JIPLP – abstracthere) I outlined the gist of the debate over the Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO) and shared some thoughts on how to improve the statute. The keenly-watched Brazzaville 5th African Union Conference of Ministers of Science and Technology (AMCOST V ) has come and gone. PAIPO was discussed on 15 November 2012.  The documentation and presentations prepared for the meeting are available here.  It is not exactly clear what the Council of Ministers decided about PAIPO. The only publicly available official document on the results of the meeting is a press release that does not mention PAIPO.

Some accounts state that they have shelved the statute and the organisation (see W New). Others indicate that they decided to proceed with PAIPO (D Ndhlovu ‘Pan African IP body survives a high level attack’, here). The AU’S STRC, which is the custodian of the drafting process, does not provide any details on its website, beyond describing the project and hosting the text of the statute. I have not received a reply to my email requesting details of the outcome of the November meeting.

So what did the Ministers decide? I believe it there is accuracy in both accounts of the outcome. It is probable that the Council of Ministers decided to proceed with PAIPO in principle (in keeping with their earlier 2007 decision) but postponed adopting the text until it has been further consulted upon and reworked. In that case, the (current) PAIPO Statute is dead. Long live PAIPO as we are likely to see another attempt at creating it in the future. If this does eventuate, it is hoped that the input provided by various academics, practitioners and other commentators will be taken on board.

If anyone has documentation pertaining to the decisions made at AMCOST V, please send it to Afro-IP.

Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) Uncategorized

PAIPO Phoenix

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.