President has assented to the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act, 28 of 2013.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the Act will protect Indigenous Knowledge (IK) using the current Intellectual Property System (IPS) which includes Copyright and related rights, Trade Mark, Designs and Geographical Indicators.
Minister Davies says the objectives of the Act are to bring Indigenous Knowledge (IK) holders into the mainstream of the economy and to improve the livelihoods of the communities.
“The Act is providing a legal framework for protection of the rights of IKs Holders and empowers communities to commercialise and trade on IKs to benefit the national economy. The intention of this intervention by government is amongst others to protect IK using the IP System, was triggered by the fact that knowledge derived from working with the communities was protected using IP system without compensating and acknowledging the originators/knowledge holders,” he said.
Minister Davies added that key interventions contained in the Act include amongst others to prohibit registration of Indigenous Knowledge without consent or that is offensive to a particular public.
‘The Act provides that Business enterprises such as community trusts and cooperatives be formed and need to manage and protect Indigenous Knowledge of Communities. Collecting societies that are not regulated should be regulated beyond the issue of ‘needle’ time royalty. It also caters for compensation for use, by providing for the negotiation of a benefit sharing agreement regime on Intellectual Property in order to fairly compensate and/or recognise the Indigenous Knowledge owner,’ stated Minister Davies.
According to him, Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) will in line with the Act accredit certain institutions which have the necessary capacity, to adjudicate any dispute arising from the application of the Act.
“These interventions will be introduced in all domains of Intellectual Property and that the findings of Alternative Dispute Resolutions can be made an order of court upon application. The High Courts will still have inherent jurisdiction to entertain any dispute pertaining to Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property,” stated Minister Davies.