INTA Steps Up Its Engagement in Key Jurisdictions in Africa

Published: November 15, 2019

INTA met with key officials in Botswana, Kenya, and South Africa during the month of October to discuss the most pressing issues affecting intellectual property (IP) stakeholders in those countries.

First Meeting in Botswana

In INTA’s first-ever visit to Botswana, INTA Representative Africa and Middle East and Intergovernmental Organizations Tat-Tienne Louembe met with Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) Registrar General, Conductor Masena and CIPA Examiner Leso Lobe on October 17. The meeting helped to lay the groundwork for the development of a robust cooperation between INTA and local officials. Trademarks make up 90 percent of Botswana’s examination files, and the importance of organizing training for examiners was a central topic of conversation. Discussions also touched on future activities to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeits and the importance of IP, including collaboration with enforcement authorities and the judiciary.

Discussions in Pretoria, South Africa

Mr. Louembe held a bilateral meeting on October 18 in Pretoria, South Africa, with the Commissioner of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission Rory Voller, and Meshendry Padayachi, Head of Unit: Intellectual Property Law and Policy, Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division. The talks centered on collaborative activities planned for 2020, as well as IP promotion and advocacy-including opportunities for strengthening the connection between IP, investment, and job creation. Mr. Louembe, Mr. Voller, and Mr. Padayachi discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), especially IP protocol. All parties agreed that the AfCFTA will help to boost South Africa’s economy through industrialization, improved infrastructure, and increased investment, and that only through a strong IP infrastructure and close collaboration among stakeholders will innovation be sustained.

Kenyan Caucus and Judges Workshop

On October 29 and 30, INTA hosted a workshop on IP for judges, magistrates, deputy Registrars, and researchers of the Kenyan judiciary. INTA members, as well as Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) and the IP Tribunal, presented topics ranging from types and scope of protection of IP rights through regulatory framework and enforcement proceedings, to the dangers of counterfeit activities for the public and the local economy. The International Development of Law Organization sponsored the program, which was aimed at increasing awareness of IP issues among the judiciary, and empowering its members to confidently and effectively handle IP cases brought before them. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and appreciative, with requests made to commit to future workshops to address the need for detailed lectures on specific issues the judiciary faces in relation to IP cases.On October 30, Mr. Louembe engaged the Intellectual Property/Trademark Caucus of the Kenya National Assembly (KNA). It was the first official meeting of the Caucus at the KNA. Members of the Caucus discussed INTA activities in the country and agreed to draft an IP roadmap for 2020. Prior to the meeting, ACA Executive Director Elema Halake and Mr. Louembe met with the Honorable Kanini Kega, chair of the National Assembly Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Committee.

Mr. Louembe also spoke at a customs training event hosted by the World Customs Organization and the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Nairobi, Kenya. The training provided an opportunity for brand owners, customs officials, and government authorities to interact and exchange best practices on anticounterfeiting in East Africa.

Unreal Campaign Travels to Nigeria

In addition to the meetings mentioned above, INTA traveled to Nigeria in September for an Unreal Campaign presentation at the Caro Favoured Schools in Lagos, Nigeria. Details on the presentation are available here.

INTA Representative Tat-Tienne Louembe supports the Association’s 510 members across Africa and the Middle East. In collaboration with the staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City and Representatives Offices around the world, Mr. Louembe works on the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives in these regions. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Africa and the Middle East, please contact Tat-Tienne Louembe at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2019 International Trademark Association