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Promoting African Traditional Textiles through Collaborative IP Models

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  • 1. PROMOTING TRADITIONAL TEXTILES FROM WEST AFRICAN RURAL COMMUNTIES THROUGH COMMUNAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MODELS 6th Annual AIE Conference, University of Oxford, 29-30 August, 2013 Helen Chuma-Okoro Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) Open A.I.R Fellow, University of Cape Town
  • 2. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za  Introduction  Profile of Traditional Textiles  Traditional Textiles and IPRs  The Ethiopian Initiative  Applying the Lessons  Recommendation/conclude Outline
  • 3. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za3COMPANY Bogonlafini/mudcloth Adire/Tie and Dye Kente Adinkra Asioke Dogon cloth Indigo cloth Country cloth
  • 4. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za4 Competition/threats from imitation/machine made products Challenges of small size in the global market arena/meeting standards Prevent misappropriation •Secure intangible value •Secure income for producers •Preserve the knowledge Long standing High end/niche market Machine made
  • 5. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Traditional Textiles •Classified as TCEs •Communal ownership, intergenerational transmission, etc. •Not adequately covered by conventional IPRs IPRs •Rewards inventiveness/creativity. •Some reward reputation (e.g. trademarks) •Individual ownership, limited term of ownership, originality, novelty, fixation. II. Traditional Textiles and IPRS
  • 6. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za  Provide market presence  Secure intangible value of the product in the market  Source identifier and identifies imitations  But requires effective management by way of marketing and brand promotion/management) Traditional textiles and trademarks
  • 7. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Why communal/collaborative models?  Competing individually endangers traditional methods and designs in favour of modern and sophisticated models  Market strategies; allow collaboration that provides synergies to overcome small size, disjointed value chain and helps proper integration into global market  Used widely to address challenges of small size in the global market  Help build group reputation which consumers find appealing  Serve the same function as trademarks by serving as product identifiers  Overcome the conceptual incompatibility of traditional textiles with conventional IP norms. In harmony with communal nature of traditional textiles
  • 8. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Communal trademarks
  • 9. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Criteria for selection/analytical Framework •Novelty of initiative •Similarity of the problems •Case analysed for problem, unique solution, objectives of model, result, enabling factors and lessons III. Case Study: Ethiopian Fine Coffee Initiative and Panamanian
  • 10. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Problem: Misappropriation, low price, farmers abandoning coffee cultivation threatening coffee export and environmental concerns • Unique Solution: Trademark with royalty free licensing tied to obligation to market to achieve the objectives • Objective: delink coffee price from commodity market; improve farmer’s income; secure brand/prevent misappropriation capture intangible value for farmer’s benefit Ethiopia’s Fine Coffee Initiative
  • 11. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Trademarked three of the world’s finest coffee brands • First to trademark specialty coffee and license distributors in order to take control of the distribution markets • Over 98 licensing agreements have been concluded with local and international coffee dealers • Licensing model allows all involved in the value chain to benefit from coffee trade • Create a network of licensed distributors who were committed to promoting the registered brands to their customers in the specialty coffee market • Collective engagement provided solution to a typical small size problem in the global market with regards to branding and marketing (placed cost of branding on international coffee dealers) • Improved and stabilised price of fine coffee guaranteeing more revenue to farmers • Farmers are more committed to ensuring quality and traditional organic methods of cultivation Results
  • 12. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Exemplifies benefits of cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders (government and industry level). • Importance of donor support • Full support from the government • Rigorous pre and post registration enlightenment campaign. Post registration such as setting up of designated institutions and organisations to manage licenses • Strong cooperative system for farmers and marketers. Lessons/Enabling Factors
  • 13. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za  Unique quality of Pochampally Ikat based on high quality of materials used, hand woven method of production and designs Problem: survival of products threatened by imitations and machine made products Objective: Secure the intangible value of the products/ greater benefits to the producers; brand ‘Pochampally Ikat’ Solution • Registration of Pochampally Ikat GI • Broad definition of GIs under the GIs Act India’s GI: Pochamally Ikat
  • 14. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Not as successful as Ethiopia • Challenges attributed to post registration weaknesses • No single foreign registration has been achieved • Initiatives to enforce locally have been embarked upon • Like Ethiopia’s case, publicity during registration helped to boost sales • Promotion of the GI created awareness of IP protection as a marketing strategy • Motivated some producers to register personal trademarks used alongside Pochampally Ikat Outcome
  • 15. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Presents +ve and –ve lessons • Government plays a key role in driving the initiative • Top down approach (initiatives driven by government) • A protected name or GI is a source of pride to the beneficiaries • Exemplifies strategic use of IPR to derive greatest benefit • Importance of post-registration plan in enforcement, marketing/brand promotion and monitoring • Enactment of a GIs law and definition of GI is key to allow broad category of products Lessons
  • 16. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Unique to the Kuna Community. Uniquely combined conventional IPRs in copyright with customary law to protect and secure the survival of a long standing unique craft Problem: Imitation mola art flooding local and international market Attempts to register the mola as some kind of trademarks by different entities Objective: to protect and preserve the mola as TCEs and indigenous knowledge, appropriate its intangible value, secure income for the kuna community There was need for a system to address the different interests: mola has economic, cultural, historical and political significance in Kuna Conventional trademarks would only protect the association entity registering it and for commercial purposes only •Sui generis model (Law No 20) was the answer Panamanian Mola Panama: Law No 20 Sui Generis Model
  • 17. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • protected the collective rights of the indigenous community to their indigenous cultural knowledge by allowing collective ownership and registration of tradition- based works of expression as a form of collective rights • allows the registration of collective rights over indigenous cultural expressions as a form of copyright under which the Kuna community registered a collective right over the Kuna • promote and commercialise indigenous knowledge as guarantee social justice to the owners • Ensure intergenerational transmission and preservation by mandated teaching of IK to the public and inclusion in school curricula as a responsibility of the state • The mark serves as a trademark and a symbol of authenticity • The law has been described as ‘the first comprehensive system of protection for TK ever adopted in the world’ [By combining copyright principles and customary law, it provided a sui generis system that addressed the different interests in protecting mola. • circumvented the limited time duration of copyright by granting a perpetual right. • Unlike other models, it secured the mola as a brand and also the technique as a form of technology thus circumventing limitations of core copyright which did not secure technology Outcome
  • 18. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • It does not provide for derivative works which leaves a gap in that area • No clear distinction between commercial entitlement and cultural heritage to determine at what point a particular knowledge seizes to be cultural heritage and becomes entitled to commodification. • Moreover, indigenes have not exhibited much eagerness in registering any collective right as such • Favours mostly the Kuna people and against the interests of other indigenous communities • These regardless, the law was a great achievement to kuna in the use of IPRs to own their TK in mola as a brand, as their indigenous innovation and as a source of livelihood Weaknesses
  • 19. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Cases show that the following are relevant •Relevant law, relevant institutions (government and industry) •Unique quality and fairly well known •Potential to create niche and/or high end regional and global market •Problems: refer back to above •Objectives (already noted – note ahead) Applying the Lessons
  • 20. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Cases show that the following are relevant •Relevant law, relevant institutions (government and industry) •Unique quality and fairly well known •Potential to create niche and/or high end regional and global market Applying the Lessons
  • 21. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Nigeria Ghana Senegal Mali All IPRs Protects trademarks but not all communal marks Protects trademarks but not all communal marks OAPI OAPI Collective M No yes Yes yes Certification M yes No Yes yes GIs Not provided in Trademarks Act or Sui Generis System Not in Trademarks Act but has Sui Generis system Yes yes Policy Weak Weak National policy identifies traditional textiles as area for growth weak Reg. Institutions Weak/lack of awareness Weak/lack of awareness Weak weak Ind. level fairly adequate Fairly adequate Fairly adequate Fairly adequate Overview of the Legal, Institutional & Policy Framework
  • 22. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Certification marks Has good potential in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal where producers operate in clusters Authentication and certification already familiar concepts among fashion and textiles designers Collective marks As TCEs, traditional textiles would not fit into the closed-shop framework GIs Would not work in Nigeria where law is absent. Requires national protection Sui Generis Sui generis model long term solution What Models to adopted?
  • 23. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za • Legal reform necessary in countries where all models are not protected • Modern tech should be adopted to improve quality without diluting the traditional essence • Involvement of all stakeholders (role of designers important) • Dynamic and living nature of culture should be considered (not all changes are harmful) • Proactive measures required (Panamanian Example) • Proposal for communal model must capture interest of targeted funders Recommendations
  • 24. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za Communal trademarks have potential to facilitate the branding of traditional textiles for the benefit of the producers. While no definite model can be recommended for any of the countries on the basis of the findings of this paper, there is sufficient basis to encourage the West African countries to begin to seriously consider adopting communal models if they are to preserve the knowledge of their traditional textiles . Conclusion
  • 25. Exploring the role of intellectual property in open development. www.openair.org.za THANK YOU The Collaborative Dynamics of Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa(Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, forthcoming 2013) will be launched at our Open AIR conference the week of December 9, 2013.

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