The Department of Trade and Industry is to go ahead with a controversial change to the way in which patents are granted. Currently, South Africa grants patents without investigating whether the application meets all the legal criteria. In 2013 the DTI proposed changes to the way in which patents are granted, which has been strongly lobbied by activists. The DTI wants to establish an office of patents examiners such as scientists, chemists, engineers and legal specialists to assess every single patent.
Pharmaceutical companies and other business interests maintains that South Africa does not have enough skilled scientists to examine every patent to ensure that it is genuine and original. They have also contended that tightening the intellectual property laws will deter foreign investment. The pharmaceutical industry maintains that South Africa does not have nearly enough skilled scientists to examine every patent to ensure that it is genuine and original.
Most of the comments on the proposed change submitted to the department are in opposition to it. They warned of a growing backlog of patent applications. Despite the overwhelmingly negative feedback, the DTI will send a bill to parliament by the end of 2014. Parliament is expected to debate the bill early in 2015.
Original Article on Times Live: