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Global experts convene in SA to discuss intellectual property, innovation

South Africa and other developing countries are in hot debate about how best to grow their economies through innovation and the development of intellectual property.
This includes debate on how to create optimal legal and regulatory frameworks to support the development of new products that can fulfil the needs of a country in a way that maximises access and the potential for success.

Another issue is how to raise money and attract investment, which developing countries such as China and India vary widely in their approach to.

These debates will be highlighted at a conference on Accelerating Intellectual Property and Innovation in South Africa, which will be held from 18 to 20 September 2011 at the Cape Sun Hotel, Cape Town.

A series of panel discussions will bring together almost 40 internationally-renowned experts in the fields of innovation, intellectual property, banking and finance, institutional research, regulatory approval and commercialisation.

Topics of discussion

Delegates will discuss current issues related to how to accelerate the commercialisation of innovation for the benefit of South Africa and developing countries generally, with the participation of experts from South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, China and India as well as the United States of America, Latin America and Europe.

The conference, which provides a forum for the delegates to share best practices, is hosted by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), a division of the Department of Science and Technology.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor will deliver the keynote address, at a gala dinner to be held on Tuesday, 20 September 2011.

The gala dinner will provide the opportunity to celebrate the promulgation of the 2008 Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act, which is South Africa's own unique path to creating and growing innovator companies.

Other discussions will include:

  • The role of the judiciary and the court system in shaping intellectual property policy;
  • Accelerating commercialisation and attracting foreign direct investment;
  • education and capacity development for intellectual property and innovation in developing countries;
  • Ownership and commercialisation of institutional research;
  • Personal reflections on recent decisions and challenges at the US Court of Appeals Federal Circuit;
  • Creating a model patent office for developing countries;
  • Entrepreneurial approaches to creating intellectual property and innovation in developing countries; and
  • Regulatory aspects of product development: data exclusivity and acceleration of approvals in developing countries.
The co-organising chairs of the event are Dr Jonathan Youngleson; the Chief Director of NIPMO, Sherry Knowles; Knowles IP Strategies; Atlanta GA (former Chief Patent Counsel, GlaxoSmithKline); McLean Sibanda, the CEO of the Innovation Hub and Nomkhosi Madwe, Director Operations and special Projects at NIPMO.

South African speakers include the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Judge Louis Harms; Dr Mandisa Hela, Registrar of the Medicines Control Council; and Advocate Mandla Mnyatheli, Advocate of the High Court of South Africa (formerly Chief Director at the Company and Intellectual Property Enforcement of the Department of Trade and Industry).

International speakers include the Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Randall R Rader; James Pooley, Deputy Director General for Innovation and Technology at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva; and Mahama Ouedraogo, Executive Secretary of the African Union Science, Technology, Research Commission in Lagos.

For more information, to view the programme and to register for this informative event, go to