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IP news summer roundup: Asia and Africa

A new JPO procedure, Barack Obama promoting innovation in Africa, enforcement in Nigeria and patent discussions at WIPO feature on our latest roundup of recent IP developments

Japan Patent Office issues new guideline

JPO logo

The Japan Patent Office has introduced a new procedure that will allow applicants to use the patent prosecution highway (PPH) request form to file their patent applications.

The PPH is a collaborative programme between patent offices that aims to speed up the processing of patent applications. There are a number of PPH initiatives in operation. Last month the German Patent Office joined the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) pilot, expanding the GPPH list to 21 participating offices.

Obama in Africa to promote innovation and entrepreneurship

Barack Obama

“I wanted to be here because Africa is on the move. Africa is one of the fastest growing regions of the world.” Those were the words of US President Barack Obama during his visit to Kenya last month for the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

The GES convenes people to connect, share ideas and support innovation and entrepreneurship. This was the second GES in Africa since the inaugural summit in 2010, and IP was also discussed. In fact it was the topic of the first workshop, and IP enthusiasts took to Twitter to say a thing or two about the event (also see here). Photos of the two-day event can be viewed here.

BASCAP report on IP in Nigeria

Promoting and protecting IP in Nigeria’ is the title of a report published last month by the ICC, under its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative. The report argues that protection and enforcement of IP rights can contribute to Nigeria’s economic development. The report cites Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, as an example.

“Developing countries such as Nigeria may benefit from the new developments arising from a robust IP protection regime in the same way as more industrialized countries,” the report said. It summarises data on IP infringement and sectors most affected by it; the state of IP law and practice in Nigeria; and concludes with policy and legislative recommendations.

Global patent system discussed at WIPO

WIPO logo

The Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) met last week to discuss - among other issues - work sharing programmes among patent offices, studies on patenting requirements and revisions to the 1979 WIPO Model Law for Developing Countries on Inventions (MLI).

IP-Watch reports that developing and developed countries were divided over the agenda for the meeting, and future work, and whether revising the MLI (a guide that predates the TRIPs Agreement) was a worthwhile exercise.

Various proposals for revision were submitted to the SCP. The US argued against any weakening of patent laws and called for a comprehensive study into the impact of patent protection on access to medicines. See a video of the meeting here.

Submit or lose trade mark rights in Angola

Angola is an important market in Africa, thanks to its natural resources. We understand that the Angolan Institute of Industrial Property (AIIP) has issued a notification calling on trade mark owners with official numbers 1 to 5000 to re-submit certain verification documents so that the Office can update its records. The deadline for this is September 28, 2015.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the notice may lead to loss of trade mark registration. More details on this can be found here.

Brand owners can challenge company name registration in Nigeria

A Federal High Court in Nigeria has ruled that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a body responsible for regulating company activities in Nigeria including registration, has the power to mandate a company to change its name on the register or remove such name if it conflicts with an earlier trade mark right.

There is no Company Names Tribunal in Nigeria. The ruling is a welcome development for brand owners operating in Nigeria considering the huge volume of trade mark and company name registrations in the country. This news was reported here.

A patent for P2P live streaming

Bram Cohen’s patent application for his invention (for a protocol for streaming content in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks) has been granted by the USPTO, Torrentfreak reports.

Cohen, founder of BitTorrent, hopes that his P2P live streaming technology will help content companies solve the problem of delay in live streaming over the internet, and reduce the cost of doing so.

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LGBTQ IP lawyers say using rainbow colours and posting solidarity messages on social media must be followed by concrete action
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Counsel at Bayer, Novartis, a generics company and other firms debate what the WTO’s patent waiver will mean in the short and long term
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