3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest and Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa

Two new publications


Videos of the Cape Town 2013 Congress & Conference KeyPoint presentations, and most of the plenary sessions, are available on the Open A.I.R. YouTube channel.

Several galleries of photos from the Cape Town 2013 Congress & Conference are now available online on the Open A.I.R. website's Photo Albums page. The Open A.I.R. Twitter feed and #gcongress hashtag were active throughout the week.    

From 9 to 13 December 2013, delegates from national and international governmental entities, the private sector, civil society and academia gathered for five days of interconnected events in Cape Town, South Africa. Hosted by the University of Cape Town (UCT), participants engaged with diverse perspectives and future scenarios for intellectual property (IP), innovation and development during the combined 3rd Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest and Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and IP in Africa. These concurrent events were convened at the historic Breakwater Lodge conference centre in Cape Town's Waterfront district.

Plenary Speakers, Moderators


The five days of Congress & Conference events featured a mix of keynote speeches to plenary sessions and specialised presentations to smaller breakaway groups and workshops. Content and presenter information for each of the presentations and workshops is available on the Cape Town 2013 Programme page, which also contains presentation slides for many sessions. Participants broke into thematic tracks in order to receive targetted presentations and to conduct in-depth scrutiny of the present status of key current strands of public interest engagement with global and national IP regimes. The five thematic tracks were : (1) user rights; (2) access to medicines; (3) enforcement; (4) openness; and (5) traditional knowledge. Participants also attended workshops proposed and convened by their fellow participants, so as to ensure that the Congress & Conference addressed all matters of current concern to the IP experts who made the journey to Cape Town.

Video Highlights

9 December 2013: Congress & Conference Opening Remarks: Tobias Schonwetter || Roundtable: iDevelopment: IP, ICT & Innovation || Debate: Copyright Legitimacy in Africa || KeyPoint: Herman Ntchatcho: The Future of WIPO in Africa || Panel: IP & Innovation in Africa's Informal Sectors || KeyPoint: Jetane Weyers: South Africa's IPR-PFRD Act || Roundtable: Ownership of Publicly Funded Research Outputs || Current Realities of Collaborative Intellectual Property in Africa: Chidi Oguamanam & Jeremy de Beer || Official Presentation of Open A.I.R. Research Outputs: to University of Cape Town

10 December 2013: KeyPoint: Fernando dos Santos: Appropriate Technologies for Africa: Towards 2035? || Drivers of Future Changes for Knowledge & Innovation in Africa: Shirin Elahi || Scenarios for the Future of Knowledge *& Innovation in Africa: Jeremy de Beer || KeyPoint: Peter Drahos: Responsive Regulation: An Optimal IP System in 2035?

11 December 2013: Welcome to 3rd Global Congress: Ahmed Abdel-Latif || KeyPoint: Nagla Rizk: IP & the Public Interest: A North African Development Economics Perspective || KeyPoint: Ruth Okediji: IP Rights & the African Innovation Paradox || KeyPoint: Michael Geist: Taking User Rights Seriously: Two Weeks That Changed Canadian Copyright Law || KeyPoint: Mark Heywood: Access to Affordable Medicines || KeyPoint: Susan Sell: Forum-Shifting & the Battle over IP Protection & Enforcement || KeyPoint: Sunil Abraham: The Freedom Continuum || KeyPoint: Chidi Oguamanam: IP "Periphery" and IP "Core": Knowledge in the (Dis)service of Public Interest || KeyPoint: Enyinna Nwauche: Communities & IP in Africa: Ownership, Openness and Collaboration || KeyPoint: Margaret Chon: Leveraging Logos for Development

13 December 2013: Track Leaders' Report Back & Discussion || Closing & Handover to Kuala Lumpur 2015 Team

Collaborative Planning

The Congress & Conference programme was developed through a collaborative planning process, via delegate submission of proposals for presentations and papers related to one of the five thematic tracks (listed above) and proposals for participant-led workshops. The approved contributions were those which addressed one of the five thematic tracks and also shed light on the overarching theme "Global questions, local answers". What is the public interest in IP? Is it similar or different from place to place? What are the local priorities among the communities you work with? How are public interest IP research and advocacy activities connected? Which strategies are most effective for achieving positive change at the global or local level?

The Congress & Conference contextualised African approaches within the larger paradigms of global public interest IP, and sought to build momentum towards more sustainable, coordinated engagement with these crucial issues. Building on the momentum generated by the 1st Global Congress in Washington, DC in 2011 and the 2nd Global Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the Cape Town 2013 theme, "Global questions, local answers", explored how public interests converge or diverge in various contexts around the world.

The Congress & Conference also featured the launch of two books on IP, innovation and knowledge in Africa: (1) a book published by UCT Press and authored by Open African Innovation Research and Training Project (Open A.I.R.) researchers, entitled Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa, and (2) a compendium of forward-looking research, Knowledge & Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future.

Presenters of papers to the Congress & Conference will be able to seek publication in 2014 in one of two high-quality African academic journals. Both the African Journal for Science, Technology, Innovation and Development and the South African Intellectual Property Law Journal  have issued Calls for Papers emerging from the Congress and Conference.

Planning and Management Personnel

Management and Coordination

Nan Warner, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Phyllis Webb, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Michelle Willmers, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Co-Convenors and Co-Chairs

Tobias Schonwetter, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Jeremy de Beer, University of Ottawa, Canada

Consultants, Administration and Rapporteurs

Chris Armstrong, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Nagham El Houssamy, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Elsabe Gelderblom, Farm Design, South Africa

Sarah Goodier, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Thomas King, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Jade Kouletakis, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Zuki Magwaxaza, University of Cape Town Breakwater Lodge, South Africa

Sibongile Musundwa, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Uvania Naidoo, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Themba Nqiwa, University of Cape Town Breakwater Lodge, South Africa

Kyle Rother, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Will Sapp, University of Ottawa, Canada

Kathy Page Wood, Farm Design, South Africa

Track/Activity Leaders

Open A.I.R. Foresight Scenarios

Shirin Elahi, Scenarios Architecture, England

User Rights

Sean Flynn, American University, United States

Caroline Ncube, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Delia Browne, P2PU / National Copyright Unit, Australia

Laura Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Alek Tarkowski, Centrum Cyfrowe Project, Poland


Joe Karaganis, American Assembly, United States

Pedro Mizukami, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil

Access to Medicines

Matt Kavanagh, University of Pennsylvania & Health Global Access Project, United States

Moses Mulumba, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development, Uganda

Traditional Knowledge

Gino Cocchiaro, Natural Justice, South Africa

Giulia Sajeva, Natural Justice, South Africa

Host, Funders, Partners

The IP Unit in the UCT Faculty of Law served as host of the combined Congress & Conference, which was carried out in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and with financial support by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the Shuttleworth Foundation and South Africa's National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO).

The implementing partners were: Open African Innovation Research and Training Project (Open A.I.R.), the OpenUCT Initiative; the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST); the Shuttleworth Foundation; Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment; the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law; the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at The American University in Cairo; the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) at the University of Lagos; the Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT) at Strathmore University in Nairobi; the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bangalore; Creative Commons; Consumers International; the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University in Washington, DC; The American Assembly at Columbia University; Google, the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative; and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).