On 7 and 8 September the IP Law and Policy Research Unit co-facilitate a two-day workshop for the South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry on the proposed IP Law Amendment Bill. The meeting was jointly organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the IP Law Unit.
The Portfolio Committee is currently in the process of reviewing a Bill that aims to amend a range of existing intellectual property rights mechanisms in South Africa, including the South African Copyright Act (1978), Performers Protection Act (1967), Trade Mark Act (1993) and Design Act (1993) in order include certain forms of traditional knowledge protection under the premises of the respective Acts. The resource people that participated in the workshop, namely Ahmed Abdel Latif (ICTSD); Professor Graham Dutfield (Leeds University); Kabir Bavikatte (Natural Justice); and Johanna von Braun (UCT IP Unit) provided the Committee Members with background on the international and national discussions and frameworks on TK protection to support the Committee in their reflection on the Bill. The key questions that were at the heart of the debate were to what extent IP laws are suitable for TK protection or whether a sui generis system for the nature of TK, or a combination of the two, would be more suitable for the ensuring an appropriate protection of TK in South Africa.