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Draft Patents Amendment Bill in the Pipeline

November 6, 2020

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

A Draft Patents Amendment Bill has been drawn up.

The trade, industry and competition department confirmed this in a briefing in parliament on the Intellectual Property (IP) Policy (Phase 1).

The department added that the draft bill will be submitted to cabinet for approval for tabling in parliament.

The department also announced that a Draft Designs Amendment Bill has been drawn up and will also be submitted to cabinet for approval.

The deputy director-general on trade policy, negotiations and cooperation, Ambassador X Carim, also pointed out that work on accession to the Madrid Protocol is at an advanced stage.

Carim clarified that the Protocol provides for the protection of business brands in multiple jurisdictions in a simple and cost effective manner.

According to the department, the IP Policy (Phase 1) provides a framework and set of guidelines for policy development and legislation on IP matters.

Some policy objectives include promoting public health, stimulating innovation, ensuring an appropriate balance between IP protection to encourage innovation and the dissemination of the benefits of innovation for society, fostering an environment that encourages investment and technology diffusion, promoting innovation, research and development and encouraging technology transfer to broaden industrial participation and growth, protecting creative industries and encouraging development of the creative industry and enhancing access, strengthening Intra-Governmental coordination on IP matters and ensuring legislation is consistent with South Africa’s international legal obligations and norms.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the department declared that the recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling that declared the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) Regulations of 2017 invalid has no effect on the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act, as amended, and its requirements.

“The invalidity of the PPPFA Regulations of 2017 does not invalidate the B-BBEE Act, and the PPPFA Regulations were not issued under to the B-BBEE Act. The framework for the B-BBEE Act and how it is applied is clear and thus not affected by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

The department emphasized that the SCA ruling in relation to the PPPFA Regulations of 2017 does not “prevent any state entity or department from pursuing and accelerating economic transformation by setting qualification criteria of 51% black ownership under the BBBEE Act, it simply means that the PPPFA Regulations cannot be used as a basis to set such qualification criteria”.