Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 01.48.01 AMDr. Tobias Schonwetter is the Director of the Intellectual Property (IP) Unit ( and an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town’s law faculty. He is a Principal Investigator for various intellectual property-related research and capacity building projects, including Open AIR ( Previously, Tobias was a Senior Manager – Technology and Innovation Law – at PwC South Africa as well as the Regional Coordinator for Africa and Legal Lead South Africa for Creative Commons. He also served as an editor for the African Journal of Information and Communication’s (AJIC), Thematic Issues on Knowledge Governance, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town’s IP Unit. Tobias specialises in and teaches intellectual property, particularly the relationship between intellectual property, innovation and development. Tobias studied and practiced law in Germany and holds Ph.D. and LL.M. degrees from the University of Cape Town. Since 2017, Tobias is an Associate Member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Tobias has written numerous articles on intellectual property law and has spoken at various national and international conferences. Tobias’s linked profile is available here and his twitter handle is @tobyschonwetter .

2016-06-27_CarolineNcube_300Professor Caroline Ncube is the DST/NRF SARChI Research Chair in Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development in the Department of Commercial Law. Most of her work is conducted under the Chair and she collaborates on IP Unit projects, such as those conducted by OpenAIR, of which she is a co-leader. Since 2017, she is an Associate Member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa.   She holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town, an LLB degree from the University of Zimbabwe and an LLM from the University of Cambridge. Caroline joined the Department of Commercial Law in January 2005. Before that she lectured at the University of Limpopo (formerly University of the North) and the University of Zimbabwe. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she briefly practised as an attorney. Caroline plays an active role in various professional associations and participates in socially responsive research projects. She is often invited to give lectures and seminars in Intellectual Property to various constituencies including WIPO Summer School students and librarians. Caroline is also actively involved in research projects that focus on open development, access to knowledge and the promotion of a balanced approach to IP. She is also the founding co-editor of the South African Intellectual Property Law Journal. Further information about her research, publications and teaching is available here. Her twitter handle is @caro_ncube.

Dr. Lee-Ann Tong is an associate professor in the Department of Commercial Law and a collaborator at the IP Unit. She holds BA (Honours) LLB and PhD degrees from the University of Cape Town and LLM degrees in Intellectual Property Law from University College London and the University of Turin. She teaches intellectual property law at LLB and LLM level, as well as an intellectual property component on the Law for Engineers course. Her main area of interest is the allocation of intellectual property rights in the employment context although she has published on various aspects of intellectual property locally and in international journals. She is a contributor to Van der Merwe, A et al Law of Intellectual Property textbook. She is the co-founder and co-editor of the South African Intellectual Property Law Journal (IPLJ) (

Julian_Kinderlerer_thumbEmeritus Professor Julian Kinderlerer was the IP Unit’s  first director until the beginning of 2013. Julian is also a former Professor of Biotechnology & Society at the Technology University in Delft, The Netherlands, former Director of the Sheffield Institute of Biotechnology Law and Ethics and honorary Professor of Biotechnology Law at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He is the President of the European Group on Ethics (EGE) in Science and New Technologies that reports to the European Commission, Council and Parliament on ethical issues. He is also a member of the South African Nanotechnology Ethics committee. In 2000 he was seconded to the United Nations Environment Programme to design and implement a project designed to assist developing countries develop their regulatory system to comply with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that eventually involved over 130 countries. He has also acted as the Specialist Adviser to a House of Lords Select Committee on European Agriculture and modern Biotechnology.

Eve Gray has a background in academic publishing, bringing to her promotion of Access to Knowledge an awareness of the value of the professional skills that publishers contribute to knowledge dissemination and their understanding of the strategic importance of effective communication. Eve also sees the potential for digital media and open licensing to transcend the limitations of the traditional publishing models in the global South and the knowledge barriers that limit the reach of developing world research. In 2006-7 Eve was an International Policy Fellow of the Open Society Institute, Budapest, in the Open Information Working Group, working on policy development for access to knowledge in southern Africa. She has worked in a number of projects relating to open access, access to and participation in the communication and publication of African research, most recently as Project Lead for the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme, a four-country project funded by the IDRC; as well as Ecology of Access to Learning Materials in Developing Countries, in association with the American Assembly at Columbia University, also funded by the IDRC. Both of these projects engaged with the realities of the southern African context, aligning policy goals and proposing appropriate strategic solutions. Eve is a Trustee of the Electronic Publishing Trust, a UK-based Trust, which works with developing country scientists and publishers to improve access to the world’s research literature and to raise the visibility of research findings published in developing countries. She is a member of the Experts’ Panel for the Journal Flipping Project being run by the Harvard University Office for Scholarly Communication, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the newly open access IDS Bulletin, from the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex; and a member of the Advisory Board of Knowledge Unlatched, an organization that works with libraries to create a sustainable consortium model for open access scholarly books. Eve blogs here.

JeremyProf. Jeremy de Beer is a senior research associate for the Unit based in Canada. He is a tenured Full Professor of law at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society. As co-founder and director of the Open African Innovation Research network, Open AIR, Professor de Beer works closely with researchers at the IP Unit and throughout the continent of Africa to ease tensions between intellectual property and access to knowledge. He is an interdisciplinary scholar with five books and over three-dozen peer-reviewed chapters and articles across the disciplines of law, business, political science, international relations and public policy. Recent examples include Intellectual Property and Innovation: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa, Knowledge and Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future, “The Informal Economy, Innovation and Intellectual Property,” and Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright. Also a practicing lawyer and expert consultant, he has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, advised businesses and law firms both large and small, and consulted for agencies from national governments and the United Nations. He is online at

Foster_Laura_PhotoDr. Laura Foster is a senior research associate for the Unit based in the U.S. She is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Affiliate Faculty with the Mauer School of Law & Department of African Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research broadly focuses on the co-constituted relationships of law and science, and how such interactions historically structure and reinforce certain bodies, identities, knowledges, and practices over others. She draws upon her expertise in science and technology studies, feminist and critical race legal theory, transnational/post-colonial feminisms, feminist research methodologies, and intellectual property law as well as her legal practice experience in both human rights and corporate law in the U.S. and in Southern Africa.

chidiDr. Chidi Oguamanam is a senior research associate for the Unit based in Canada. He is a full professor of law at the University of Ottawa, affiliated with the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability, and the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics. A dedicated interdisciplinary scholar, Chidi’s research traverse global knowledge governance systems and their ramifications for Indigenous and Western knowledge productions in diverse contexts such as food and agriculture, biodiversity conservation, culture, entertainment and creativity, medicines and pharmaceuticals, and environmental sustainability as part of the international development law and policy narrative. A senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, in 2016, Chidi was named to the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. An author of several books, Chidi is a co-founder of the Open African Innovation Research project. He leads several research initiatives such as the Access and Benefit Sharing Canada project.

Dr. BScreen Shot 2018-06-19 at 14.42.22ram Van Wiele is a research associate at the Unit based in New Zealand. He is a lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, and the current head of the Open African Innovation Research partnership’s New and Emerging Researchers Group. Prior to joining the University of Auckland, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Bram holds PhD and LLM degrees from UCT, and an LLM majoring in international and European law from the University of Antwerp. He teaches various courses on commercial and intellectual property law. His research interests include copyright, law and technology, and legal history.

IMG_20160503_134857-1-1-1Dr. Desmond Oriakhogba is a research associate in the Unit. He is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, a Lecturer in the University of Benin’s Law Faculty (Nigeria) and a Tutor in the Distance Learning Programme of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Academy. He obtained his LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Benin. Desmond has a PhD in commercial law, with focus on intellectual property (IP) and competition law, from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, where he is also remotely completing a postdoctoral fellowship. Desmond is a Queen Elizabeth Scholar, and a Research Collaborator with the Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Network.  He is a member of a number of professional organisations, such as the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Association of Law Teachers, the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS), and the South African Association of Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology Law Teachers and Researchers (AIPLITL). He is also affiliated to the UCT’s Research Chair on IP, Innovation and Development and the Enredados network of policy makers, academics and practitioners in the field of IP and intangible cultural heritage. Desmond’s research is on the broad spectrum of IP law, but with special focus on the administration and operation of collective management organisations in Africa; the interface between IP law and competition law, IP and regional trade in Africa, IP and traditional knowledge/traditional cultural expressions (TK/TCEs), and IP and the attainment of SDG5 (empowerment of women and girls) within the context of cultural heritage and creativity. He teaches various courses in the area of commercial, private and public law, including intellectual property law, family and succession law, constitutional law, administrative law, and legal research and methodology. Desmond is widely published and has presented in a number of conferences and diplomatic sessions. He is the Managing Editor of the Benin Journal of Public Law and an Editorial Assistant of the South African Intellectual Property Law Journal.

Ruth Knoblich is a research associate in the Unit. She is working as a DAAD Lecturer in Development Research and Development Management at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town (SA-GER CDR). Ruth’s research is at the interface of policies, laws and regulations of science, technology and innovation and sustainable development. One of her focus areas is IP regulation and IP policy processes (related to climate, biodiversity and health policies) in emerging economies. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Bonn, Germany, and an Associated PhD student in International Development Studies at the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE) at the Ruhr-University Bochum where she previously worked as a research fellow. Ruth teaches and supervises students’ theses regularly on development topics at the SA-GER CDR / University of the Western Cape, at the IEE Bochum, and at the Institute for Political Science and Sociology (IPWS) in Bonn. Ruth is a founding member of the research group on “Rising Knowledge-Powers” at the Center for Global Studies in Bonn. Her research at the IP Unit — partly funded by a scholarship from the European Commission — contributes to her South African-focused research for her PhD thesis.

Picture1Ugreson Maistry is a research associate for the Unit based in Germany. He works as trademark counsel for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which sets forest standards for responsibly managed forests. He studied law and humanities at the University of Cape Town, with Master’s specialisation in IP and Competition Law from the Munich IP Law Center (MIPLC). As a South African attorney and English Solicitor he works in trademark infringements and prosecutions, has previously practiced entertainment law in Cape Town, intellectual property law in Germany and Spain, and researched biotechnology, patents and innovation as a scientific research associate of the Max-Planck-Institute for Innovation and Competition (MPI) in Munich. Enjoying the intellectual property laws of patents and plant varieties, trademarks and certification marks, copyright and design, he tutors online for the (WIPO) Academy in the IP management certificate, and has helped develop and implement the South African IP management education programmes for the National IP Management Office (NIPMO) in collaboration with UNISA, the largest online university in Africa. He has worked on copyright law projects for the Shuttleworth Foundation, Creative Commons, and the European IP Institutes Network (EIPIN), and is a member of (SAIIPL), the Int. Assoc. for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in IP (ATRIP), and an African Good Governance Network (AGGN) Fellow. He is interested in access to knowledge and technology transfer for national development, and using IP law for innovation and development in health, the environment, and creative and scientific endeavor.

charleneCharlene Musiza is a PhD candidate in the Commercial Law Department at UCT. Her research explores trademarks and geographical indications as tools for advancing economic development in Africa. She obtained her LLB from the University of Zimbabwe and her LLM, specialising in Commercial Law from UCT.

Clarence Lakpini is a Research Assistant with the IP Unit. He obtained his LLB degree at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where he has practiced for a few years. He is currently pursuing his LLM in Intellectual Property law at the University of Cape Town, where his research focuses on the human rights implications of pharmaceutical patent grants in South Africa.

LEnonLenon Itai Rwizi is an LLM candidate and a Research Assistant in the IP Unit. He obtained his LLB from the University of Fort Hare and is currently working on his LLM, specialising in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Cape Town, Commercial Law Department. He also holds an Honours in Philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is assisting the IP-Unit with various research projects, including Open AIR and social media.

BontleBontle Monnya is a Research Assistant in the IP Unit. She is currently a postgraduate law student at the University of Cape Town and obtained her Bachelor’s degree with majors in Law and Public Policy. She is interested in the justificatory theories of intellectual property, as well as its impact on the constitutional right to freedom of expression.


Administrative support

nanNan Warner is the Project Manager for the Open A.I.R. (Open African Innovation Research and Training) project. Previously she managed the African Scholars for Knowledge Justice (ASK Justice) project and she was the Manager, African Academic Links section of the International Academic Programmes Office at the University of Cape Town, and Director of the USHEPiA (University Science, Law, Humanities, and Engineering Partnerships in Africa) Programme.  She designed and ran the AU/RPN (Association of African Universities / USHEPiA Research Publication Network) from 2000 – 2002; the UPAAE (UNESCO Pilot African Academic Exchange Programme) from 1999 – 2001; the EAAV (Eric Abraham Academic Visitorship Programme) from 2007 – 2011; and the UCT/AAU (UCT/AAU Academic Staff Exchange Programme) from 2010 – 2011. In the area of development, Nan was part of the European Universities Association ‘Access to Success’ Project and participated in workshops and the launch of the White Paper in 2010.  She assisted in the development of the Nyerere (Supporting Academic Mobility and Revitalisation of Higher Education in Africa) Programme, launched in 2010.  She was part of the EUA-CED Global Strategic Forum on Doctoral Education in 2011, and presented on ‘Mobility, Brain Drain, and Brain Circulation’; and was invited to participate in the HESA/BRITISH ACADEMY/ACU ‘Foundations for the Future: Supporting Early Career Research in Africa : A workshop as part of the Nairobi Process on strengthening the humanities and social sciences in African universities’ in 2011. Nan has an M.Ed. from the University of the Western Cape in Higher Education Studies, a Certificate in Management from the South African Qualifications Authority, and has attended a number of training courses in relevant disciplines.

phyllisPhyllis Webb joined UCT in 1990 in the Finance area. She quickly moved around within Central Finance to gain experience in all aspects of finance procedures at UCT. After 7 years in IAPO and 17 years at UCT, Phyllis left to work at an NGO which allowed her to maintain links with tertiary education in South Africa. Phyllis joined the Open Air Project in October 2011 as a Finance Administrator and is now the Finance Administrator for the ASK Justice project.