The term pro bono has come to be understood as something done as an act of charity or simply "for free" but this is to ignore the full form and meaning of the Latin tag pro bono publico – meaning "for the public good".
It was the prospect of being able to assist an organisation in making a tangible difference to the lives of farming communities in Africa that led Spoor & Fisher to offer its legal intellectual property law expertise to Farm Africa on a pro bono basis. Focusing on marginalised farmers and herders, Farm Africa is a specialist, non-governmental organisation that has poverty reduction as its ultimate aim. In order to achieve this, it develops innovative approaches to the sustainable management of natural resources, thus helping farmers and pastoralists to help themselves.
One of the Farm Africa initiatives is SIDAI, an animal healthcare franchise launched in Kenya. SIDAI will bring quality veterinary care to the livestock of some 300 000 households across the country, as well as creating 540 jobs. Farm Africa would like to introduce this model to other countries on the continent, which obviously has IP implications. This is where Spoor & Fisher has entered the picture by providing IP advice, including the development of a strategy whereby Farm Africa can protect is trade marks in various African countries.
Assistance was channelled via the S&F Jersey office and has led to the firm being nominated for a TrustLaw 2012 award in the Innovation category. The reward for pro bono work lies in the positive outcome achieved but it is also gratifying to see that a worthy cause is receiving the recognition that it deserves. Spoor & Fisher acknowledges the nomination with gratitude – while applauding the efforts of Farm Africa and SIDAI.
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