IP Unit submits its comments regarding DTI’s Draft IP Policy

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.21.26 AMOn 17 October 2013, the IP Unit, together with colleagues affiliated with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry comments (click here) regarding the DRAFT NATIONAL POLICY ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. In our submission we comment on the broad issues of principle, indicate where we find the draft policy desirable or undesirable, and add some of our own recommendations. Although the current policy document contains confused drafting as well as several erroneous factual and legal statements that require to be rectified, the overall intention of the draft policy is in our view good: it is grounded in a developmental approach appropriate to our country, and seeks to eliminate the many negative outcomes of IP protection which are detrimental to the broader society. The current draft suggest that the drafters of the policy are aware of the many and complex issues related to intellectual property, especially in times of rapid technological advances and globalisation. And it appears the drafters’ overarching objective is to strike a fair balance between competing private and public interests in the field – taking into consideration South Africa’s specific needs and circumstances. The drafters of the policy are to be commended for their boldness and willingness to fundamentally question some of the existing IP paradigms and practices in South Africa in their quest to develop an IP framework that truly benefits the people of South Africa and propels the country’s IP framework into the 21st century.