Photo of Cape Town by Hilton 1949, CC-BY-SA

Arial view of Cape Town by Hilton1949 (CC-BY-SA)

9-13 December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa

In December 2013, delegates from national and international governmental entities, the private sector, civil society, and academia will gather for five days of interconnected events in Cape Town. Participants will engage with diverse perspectives and future scenarios for intellectual property (IP), innovation and development during the Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and IP in Africa (9-11 December) and the 3rd Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest (11-13 December).

The interwoven Open A.I.R. Conference and Global Congress events are designed to offer delegates distinct but complementary experiences. The first part of the week will expose participants to insights on IP and innovation in Africa, generated by the Open African Innovation Research and Training (Open A.I.R.) Project. There will also be a launch of a book, The Collaborative Dynamics of Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa, and a compendium of forward-looking research, Future Scenarios for African Innovation. By discussing existing patterns among collaborative IP policies and practices in Africa, and the signals of emerging scenarios for the future, delegates will challenge assumptions and confront changes. At the same time, participants will engage with Africa’s largest IP research and advocacy community, and join the global network of experts who share the common goal of promoting the public interest in IP policy and practice.

The second half of the week will contextualise African approaches within the larger paradigms of global public interest IP, and build momentum towards sustainable, coordinated engagement with these crucial issues. After the successful 1st Global Congress in Washington, DC in 2011 and 2nd Global Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest is coming to Africa in 2013, providing an ideal complement to the Open A.I.R. Conference. The theme of this year’s Congress is “Global Problems: Local Solutions?”, which will explore how public interests converge or diverge in different places around the world.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Faculty of Law’s IP Unit will serve as host of both the Open A.I.R. Conference and the 3rd Global Congress. Partners include the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at The American University in Cairo, the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Lagos, the Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT) at Strathmore University in Nairobi, the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University.

Funding is provided by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Open Society Foundations.