open-air logo[Global Congress/Open Air, Link] 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, South Africa. Hosted by the University of Cape Town (UCT), participants will engage 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, running from 9 to 13 December 2013 in Cape Town. These concurrent events are being convened at the historic Breakwater Lodge conference centre in Cape Town’s Waterfront district.

During the interwoven Global Congress and Open A.I.R. Conference there will be the launch of a book, authored by Open A.I.R. researchers and published by UCT Press, provisionally entitled The Collaborative Dynamics of Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa. There will also be the launch of a compendium of forward-looking research provisionally entitled 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 Congress and Conference will contextualise African approaches within the larger paradigms of global public interest IP, and will seek 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”, will explore how public interests converge or diverge in various contexts around the world.

Call for Presentations and Workshops

The five days of Congress & Conference events will feature a mix of keynote speeches to plenary sessions and specialised presentations to smaller breakaway groups and workshops. Participants will break into thematic tracks in order to receive targetted presentations and 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 are : (1) user rights; (2) access to medicines; (3) enforcement; (4) openness; and (5) traditional knowledge. Participants will also attend workshops proposed and convened by their fellow participants, so as to ensure that the Congress & Conference address all matters of current concern to the IP experts who make the journey to Cape Town.

The programme is being developed through a collaborative planning process, via an open call for proposed presentations/papers related to one of the five thematic tracks (listed above) and for proposed participant-led workshops. Proposed contributions should address one of the five thematic tracks, and should 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? Registered participants have until 31 August 2013 to submit a proposal to deliver a presentation or paper and/or lead a workshop.