Category Archives: Governance, Metrics, and Public Policy

TK and TCEs Again under Focus at 37th WIPO IGC

by Chidi Oguamanam On August 27, 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) reconvened in Geneva for its 37th session. The August 27-31 meeting is the third under the 2018-2019 biennium of the IGC and also the first opportunity for the experts … Continue reading TK and TCEs Again under Focus at 37th WIPO IGC


Better metrics, better policies for knowledge and innovation in Africa

By Nagla Rizk The Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) leads the research on metrics, laws and policies within the Open African Innovation Research network (Open AIR).  The objective is to devise alternate metrics for measuring knowledge and innovation that provide a more accurate reflection of Africa’s innovation reality. Through dissemination and engaging with stakeholders, … Continue reading Better metrics, better policies for knowledge and innovation in Africa


US Fails to Block Progress over Genetic Resources Text at WIPO-IGC 36

Photo credit: Image by Ville Oksanen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) By Chidi Oguamanam, cross-posted from ABS Canada. After six days of deliberations (June 24-29, 2018) to secure a mature text for the protection of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, delegates left the negotiations with mixed feeling while remaining resolute on the progress made. The mixed … Continue reading US Fails to Block Progress over Genetic Resources Text at WIPO-IGC 36


Open AIR Expansion au Maroc

By Sara Yassine  Au cours des six derniers mois, le laboratoire de recherche « Entrepreneuriat et Management des Organisations » (LABO-EMO) et Open AIR ont discuté la possibilité d’une collaboration en matière de recherche et l’organisation de meeting scientifique. Le Laboratoire de Recherche en Entrepreneuriat et Management des Organisations (EMO), est une des principales unités de recherche … Continue reading Open AIR Expansion au Maroc


WIPO Expert Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Takes Another Look at Draft Genetic Resources Text in 2018

By Chidi Oguamanam For the 35th time in 18years, experts have yet again gathered at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva where they are scheduled to remain in deliberation between March 19 and 23, 2018. This meeting of the WIPO expert committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore … Continue reading WIPO Expert Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions Takes Another Look at Draft Genetic Resources Text in 2018


Reconciling Intellectual Property Rights and African Development: The Right to Development Conference Charts the Way Forward

By Uchenna Felicia Ugwu In September 2017, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation[i] and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR)[ii], Faculty of Law University of Pretoria gathered together a group of academics and business persons at a conference to discuss “Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development.”[iii] At this conference I had the honour of presenting one of … Continue reading Reconciling Intellectual Property Rights and African Development: The Right to Development Conference Charts the Way Forward


Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?

By Sarah El Saeed The Egyptian Government has begun in pushing through a fiscal and monetary reform plan that includes various unpopular austerity measures. In the first quarter of 2017, inflation hit a 30-year high of 31.5%, following several state subsidy cuts being made. The value of the Egypt pound has also declined by more … Continue reading Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?


Open AIR’s Sileshi Hirko wins competitive grant

Mr. Sileshi Hirko, a PhD candidate in the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa, has won the Civil Society Scholars Award (CSSA). CSSA is a research grant from the Open Society Foundations, and it is awarded to PhD students for field research and to scholars for a research project. With significant financial support … Continue reading Open AIR’s Sileshi Hirko wins competitive grant


Open AIR NERG presents at Windsor Symposium on Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice

By Uchenna Ugwu How can “user rights” and exceptions to copyright be used most effectively to ensure access to knowledge for all? This question is a very important one because access to knowledge is so integral to innovation. In May 2017, the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor convened the Copyright User Rights … Continue reading Open AIR NERG presents at Windsor Symposium on Copyright User Rights and Access to Justice


WIPO Special Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expression Shies Away from Consolidating its Mandate but Agrees on Lack of Indigenous Participation

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s specialist committee charged with negotiating text-based instrument(s) for the effective protection of Genetic Resources (GRs), Traditional Knowledge (TK), and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs), on Friday June 16 2017 concluded its 34th session with partial agreement on its mandate and on the fate of the committee and its work program.


Challenging the Meaning of Innovation: Lessons from Refugee-Founded Organizations in Kampala

There is often a limited and constricted view of African innovation, especially when it comes to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). While there is the common perception that refugees on the continent are resilient, innovative, and resourceful, it is only in the sense that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Too often, refugees and IDPs are perceived as persons with only needs. The reality is that refugees and IDPs are just like everyone else and bring many skills, ideas, and innovations to the global marketplace, both the marketplace of ideas and of goods.


Common Misconceptions of Patents in Egypt

Earlier this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a two-day workshop on “Supporting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Use the Intellectual Property System in Their Competitive Strategy” at the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, which some of our Open AIR NERG members attended. The goal of this meeting was to discuss how to encourage young innovators to protect their inventions by patenting them at the Egyptian Patent Office. The workshop had vibrant and sometimes heated discussions between these innovators and government officials regarding many of the obstacles faced in the patenting process in Egypt.


Dr Henry Mutai

Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Henry Mutai on IP, Trade and Regional Integration in Africa

On 10 June 2015, the Agreement establishing a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was signed in Egypt bringing together 26 African countries from three major regional blocs: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Following the signing, the current phase of the TFTA negotiations are meant to cover five agenda items: trade in services, cooperation in trade and development, competition policy, intellectual property (IP) rights, and cross-border investment. The fourth of those five issues was the subject of the second Open AIR East Africa Distinguished Speaker Series presentation by Dr. Henry Kibet Mutai.


Understanding Knowledge Dynamics and Scaling-up in Micro Enterprises in Otigba Market Cluster

In part 1, I discussed our preliminary findings from 73 field interviews conducted by my team and I in the Otigba Market Cluster. Since then we have conducted an additional 123 interviews, making a total of 200 interviews in all. In this second post, I will discuss more on the kind of innovations in the cluster, how MSMEs in the cluster scale-up, and the impact of knowledge sharing on MSMEs’ innovativeness.


Open AIR Students Present at Carleton’s Institute of African Studies

Back in October 2016, three of our Open AIR Research Fellows had the unique and rewarding opportunity to participate in the Second Annual Institute of African Studies Undergraduate Research Conference at Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies. Undergraduate researchers from across the globe presented their research findings on a wide breadth of topics – from fiction describing Nigerian culture, to professional development for youth in South Africa, to political structures that influenced the welfare state in Tanzania and Kenya.