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Adams & Adams hosted its 3rd annual IP seminar, the biggest of its kind on the African continent, for its partners from across Africa. The meeting brought together 60 top IP practitioners and administrators representing most territories on the continent. This annual showpiece event on the Adams & Adams Africa calendar, follows after a year’s break in 2014 due to concerns over the threat posed by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and the subsequent imposition of travel bans on some African countries.

The year’s break served to sharpen the anticipation for this year’s event which saw the support of a number of Registrars from around Africa including South Africa, Ethiopia and the Director General of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), Mr Fernando Dos Santos, who was recently voted as one of 50 most influential people in IP by Managing Intellectual Property. The Director of Communication from the Mozambique Registry was also in attendance on behalf of the Director General of the Mozambique IP Office.

Each of the Registrars had an opportunity to share with the delegates the IP developments and challenges within their respective jurisdictions. This tied in with the central theme of the Network Meeting to provide a platform for engaging with other IP practitioners in Africa, sharing experiences and, in so doing, creating a network that will further enhance the development of IP on the continent.

This year saw an eye opening Afro optimistic presentation by Victor Kgomoeswana, a well known radio personality, public speaker and author of the well received book, “Doing Business in Africa.” Victor shared from his library of experiences travelling and doing business in Africa. He challenged the delegates to see Africa through new eyes and engage with one another. He also touched on the incredible stories of innovation that are coming out of Africa, the challenges of protecting aspects of indigenous knowledge and the link provided by intellectual property to economic development.

Victor lauded the platform created by this event which allowed people from across Africa to meet and engage with one another towards a common goal.

The Network Meeting was again held at our head office in Pretoria, South Africa. Simon Brown, Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Marks Department, welcomed the guests and highlighted the importance of this event on the Adams & Adams calendar and the expectation that it will lead to a sharing of expertise and ultimately to continue to provide a quality service to all our clients.

Presentations on topical issues were made by Stephen Hollis, a senior associate at Adams & Adams, on the effectiveness and applicability of the Madrid Protocol in Africa, and two Partners from Adams & Adams, Darren Olivier and Eugene Honey, on traditional knowledge and the opportunities for commercialisation and on franchising and IP respectively.

The day ended with a cocktail function in the evening. The following day saw one-on-one sessions being held between some of the delegates and Partners and Departmental heads of Adams & Adams, to discuss specific issues within that country’s practice. This year saw a number of delegates going off to Sun City for a weekend excursion organised by Adams & Adams.

Plans are already in place to host the next edition of the event next year and to expand its scope and offering to continue to add value for the Adams & Adams African partners.

Darren Olivier
Eugene Honey
Partner | Attorney
Simon Brown
Partner | Trade Mark Attorney
Stephen Hollis
Partner | Trade Mark Attorney

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