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.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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