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

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jan 05, 2014 02:52 AM
From 9 to 13 December 2013, delegates from national and international governmental governmental entities, the private sector, civil society, and academia gathered for five days of interconnected events in Cape Town.

Sunil Abraham participated as a speaker in the sessions on Bridging into the Global Congress: Global Issues, Local Answers?, User Rights Track: What Medicines Can Teach Tech: Exploring Patent Pooling and Compulsory Licensing in the Indian Mobile Device Market, User Rights Track: Reclaiming the World Trade Organisation: A Modest Proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Global Public Goods, and was a keynote speaker on The Freedom Continuum. Nehaa Chaudhari also participated in this event. Click to read more about the event published on the website of open A.I.R. here.  The full programme can be seen here.


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.

The event is now fully subscribed, with only registrations invited by Congress & Conference organisers being accpted. For further details, please visit this website's Cape Town 2013 page.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Faculty of Law's IP Unit is serving as host of the Congress & Conference. Implementating partners include 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 Srathmore University in Nairobi, the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
at American University in Washington, DC.

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

Date: Monday, 9 December, 2013 to Friday, 13 December, 2013
Place: Cape Town
Type of Event: Conference


Sunil Abraham provided a hilarious talk on The Freedom Continuum. An example: “Freedom is like the Kama Sutra – there are many positions one can take.” Mr. Abraham also brilliantly suggested a method for plausible deniability in the world of biometric identification and oppressive government oversight. By posting all of my biometric information (fingerprints, eye scans, etc.) on the internet, I can plausibly deny any crimes or contracts or tracking by the government because, well, it’s all online so it couldn’t have been me, right? So we should (paradoxically) fight incursion into data privacy simply by releasing all biometric data about ourselves.

Also quite amusing was the comparison of the IP debate to Tom and Jerry, that iconic Cat (Kat?) and Mouse duo who are perpetually chasing one another. Tom the Cat represents Big Business, corporate interests, the USTR, etc. Tom is chasing (but can never quite catch) Jerry the Mouse, who represents civil society, human rights activists, the open source movement, etc. An audience member pointedly observed that Jerry typically runs around for a bit and then disappears into a hole in the wall, where he stays for some time before emerging to torture Tom again. The obvious point is that activists (i.e., the audience at the Global Congress) will never make substantial progress until they stop disappearing for long periods of time and start acting more like a cat (or even, perhaps, like a dog).

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