The South African government recently approved the first phase of the long awaited Intellectual Property (IP) Policy, after incorporating input from the stakeholders' submissions and representations.
The government has earmarked the IP Policy as one of the core elements needed to thrust South Africa toward a knowledge economy. This objective is believed to be a cornerstone of the government's broader National Development Plan which includes a greater emphasis on innovation, improved productivity and better exploitation of comparative and competitive advantages.
According to the IP Policy, although South Africa has made substantial progress in the just protection, administration, management, and deployment of IP, the country still requires a comprehensive IP Policy to promote and contribute to its socio-economic development. The IP Policy is thus aimed at promoting local manufacture, utilising and preserving the country's resources, encouraging innovation and empowering the domestic stakeholders to take advantage of the IP system.
The IP policy confirms the establishment of the Inter- Ministerial Committee on Intellectual Property (IMCIP) which serves as a consultative forum and drafting team aimed at achieving a coordinated approach to implementation of the IP Policy. It was decided the IP Policy would be implemented in phases, with segmentation being decided on immediate issues, medium term issues and issues requiring monitoring and evaluation. Phase I focuses on two main issues in the immediate term identified by government as IP and public health; and International IP cooperation.
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