“IP as a power tool for development” is back for a Nov. 2013 conference organized by South Africa’s Companies and IP Commission

During Kamil Idris’s tenure at the helm of the World Intellectual Property Organization, a hackneyed mantra of the organization was “Intellectual property: a power tool for economic growth”. It would appear that South Africa’s Companies and IP Commission (CIPC) along with the National IP Management Office (NIPMO) of South Africa seek to resurrect this concept at the conference entitled, “Creating and Leveraging Intellectual Property in Developing Countries: A Power Tool for Social and Economic Growth” to be held in Durban from 17-20 November 2013.

According to the organizers, “this conference follows on from the successful meeting of the BRICS Heads of Patent
Offices in Durban in May 2013, and comes at an important time—not just in the progress of South Africa, but throughout all of Africa, as well as the BRICS nations, as the countries work to shape the future of IP.”

Speakers include:

McLean Sibanda (CEO, Innovation Hub of Guateng Provence and President of the African Division of the International Association of Science Parks); Justice Joel Ngugi (High Court of Kenya); Morne Barradas (Lead IP Legal Advisor: Risk and Compliance, Sasol Group Services (Sasolburg, South Africa)); Chief Judge James Smith (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (inv)); Roy Waldron (Chief IP Counsel, Pfizer); Phil Johnson (Chief IP Counsel, Johnson & Johnson); James Pooley (Deputy Director, WIPO); Maaike va Velzen (IP & Standards, General Manager, Philips Group Innovation); Todd Dickinson (Executive Director, AIPLA); Steve Sammut (Professor, Wharton School of Business and Burrill Venture Partner); Gordon Myers (Chief Counsel, Technology and Private Equity, IFC Legal Department of the World Bank); Yonah Seleti (Acting Deputy Director General, Human Capital and Knowledge Systems, Department of Science and Technology of South Africa); Michal Preminger, PhD, MBA (Executive Director of the Office of Technology Development, Harvard Medical School); Konji Sebati (Director of Department of Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges, WIPO); Ellis Owusu-Dabo (Scientific Director of the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicines at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana)); Professor Dennis C. Liotta (Samuel Chandler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry at Emory University and Founder of Emory Institute for Drug Discovery and DRIVE (Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory)); Jennifer Dent (President, BIO Ventures for Global Health); and Professor Joseph Strauss (Professor of Law at Universities of Munich and Ljubljana; Chair, IP and Innovation Management, University of South Africa and Professor of George Washington Law School).

One of the speakers for this November conference is Phil Johnson (Chief IP Counsel, Johnson & Johnson). Another invited speaker is Roy Waldron (Chief IP Counsel, Pfizer) who provided testimony on 13 March 2013 to the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing on U.S.-India Trade Relations: Opportunities and Challenges. As noted in our previous blog,

Waldron’s written testimony included a variety of complaints about the India patent law, focusing on the failures to obtain patents for some products, including those denied under Section 3(d) of the India patent law, the India system of pre-grant opposition to patents under Section 25(1) of the India patent act, the Nexavar compulsory licensing case under Section 84 of the India patent act, the requirements for local manufacturing, and the new proposals to grant compulsory licenses under Section 92 of the India patent act. Waldron also asserted that India had not complied with TRIPS requirements for the protection of test data, and complained that drug regulatory authorities did not block drug approval where there are assertions of patent protection.

Given that this international conference intends to create synergies between senior officials in the South African government and “international key government, organization, industrial and academic leaders from Africa and other BRICS countries, as well as the U.S. and Europe, to form a fertile environment for discussion, networking and relationships”, J&J’s and Pfizer’s comments will be under close scrutiny.

More details on the conference can be found here.