CCIA IP report

Often independent computer industry associations are never that, so one often reads their reports with more then a healthy dose of scepticism. Having spent some time last week at an ip conference it was quite useful to find this report from the CCIA ( thanks thiru).

CCIA Comments on the WIPO Report on the International Patent System

The Computer & Communications Industry Association wishes to commend
WIPO for undertaking this report for the Standing Committee on Patents. This
synthesis of current conditions and issues is a landmark first step in reorienting
WIPO towards further understanding of how intellectual property functions in the
global economy and how patent law regimes can be improved or reformed to
better meet agreed-on goals. We believe that WIPO should take a leadership
role in integrating economic and legal analysis in collaboration with other
organizations that show a genuine commitment to disinterested research and
analysis. We hope that WIPO will build capacity both in-house and in engaging
the broader community of researchers and stakeholders.

With regard to Open Standards …

The adoption of open standards by governments is a critical factor in building interoperable information systems which are open, accessible, fair and which reinforce democratic culture and good governance practices. In South Africa we have a guiding document produced by my department called the Minimum Interoperability Standards for Information Systems in Government (MIOS). The MIOS prescribes the use of open standards for all areas of information interoperability, including, notably, the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) for exchange of office documents.

ODF is an open standard developed by a technical committee within the OASIS consortium. The committee represents multiple vendors and Free Software community groups. OASIS submitted the standard to the International Standards Organisation in 2005 and it was adopted as an ISO standard in 2006. South Africa is amongst a growing number of National Governments who have adopted ODF over the past year.

Governments, publicly funded and non-profit institutions

Hereby agree to the following measures in order to promote interoperability and accessibility through the use of open standards.

1. To create a policy statement on interoperability and open standards, to be available to employees and the public.

2. By 2010, procurement of all software should be vendor neutral and implement open standards

3. By 2010, tender specifications for hardware (including peripherals and mobile devices) should require that manufacturers provide the driver and interface information necessary to work with a reasonable range of proprietary and free operating system platforms.

4. By 2010, all public facing web pages should conform to W3C standards for structure, presentation and accessibility.

5. By 2010, tenders for the supply of web based services (for example, online reservations) must specify the requirements of point 4.

6. By 2010, agencies should implement policies regarding the storage and archiving of government data and records to ensure that data is stored in open data and document formats.

IGF – Procurement agreement

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A positive outcome from the Internet Governance Forum that was held in Hyderabad from the 3rd to 6th of December is the agreement below. If you support the agreement I suggest that you sign-up, entities interested in supporting the agreement should send an e-mail to igf-dcos[at]

The only thing worse then being exploited by globalisation, is not being exploited by globalisation” point made about why we need IP laws, and play by the rules

Signed & Endorsed

Signed by the following parties:

Aslam Raffee, Government IT Officers’ Council, OSS Working Group, Republic of South Africa

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Bob Jolliffe, Freedom To Innovate, South Africa

Centre for Internet and Society, India

Hamid Rabiee, Sharif University of Technology, Iran

Knowledge Ecology International

Moving Republic, India

Shuttleworth Foundation, South Africa

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing, India


Endorsed by the following parties:

Alternative Law Forum, India

Bangladesh Friendship Education Society, Bangladesh

CECS (Community Education Computer Society), South Africa

Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India

IT for Change, India

OpenForum Europe

Schoolforge-UK, UK

European Interoperability Framework

As noted in the European Interoperability Framework cited above, open standards or technical specifications must allow all interested parties to implement the standards and to compete on quality and price. The goal is to have a competitive and innovative industry, not to protect market shares by raising obstacles to newcomers. Thus, open standards or technical specifications must be possible to implement in software distributed under the most commonly used open source licences, with no limitations arising from IPR associated with the standard in question.

In addition to the above requirements, it is recommended that there should be multiple independent implementations of the standard.

Governments, publicly funded and non-profit institutions agree to implement the following policies.

SARS and PDF Readers campaign

I received an email with a link to this news article

“Interoperability, competition and choice are primary benefits of Open

Standards that translate into vendor-independence and better value for
money for customers,” says FSFE president Georg Greve. “Although many
versions of PDF offer all these benefits for formatted text and
documents, files in PDF formats typically come with information that
users need to use a specific product. provides an
alternative to highlight the strengths of PDF as an Open Standard.”

It was interesting that I was recently on the south african revenue services e-filing site and I was unable to use my pdf reader (evince) to access the forms on the site. In fact they state, “All income tax returns (IT12S, IT12C, IT12TR, IT12EI and IT14) will be made available in an electronic format using freely available Adobe software.”

African National Congress

Just over twenty years ago, in July 1987, Dakar was the site of an historic meeting between a group of predominantly white Afrikaner businessmen and academics and representatives of the then exiled African National Congress of South Africa. The Dakar Declaration of 12 June 1987 noted that, despite being ideologically different, both groups held “a shared commitment towards the removal of the apartheid system and the building of a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa”. A dialog was initiated which was to bear fruit some years later.

Open Standards

Given the multiplicity of interpretations of the term open standards, for the purpose of this document we endorse as an acceptable definition the position contained in the European Union’s draft European Interoperability Framework:

It is important to understand what the term ‘open standards’ mean. It is also important to understand the rules of playing online slots.

1) The open standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus or majority decision etc.).
2) The open standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.
3) The intellectual property – i.e. patents possibly present – of (parts of) the open standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty free basis.
4) There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.

IP recommendations

I blogged about the joint seminar for capacity development on Intellectual property hosted by DST, WIPO and JICA earlier. We had the some of the top experts in the country as well as some international guests, and even an IP lawyer or two. Well what came out of the conference are the following recommendations and conclusions which have been sent on to the powers that be.

The Participants recognised that the stimulation of innovation is crucial for South Africa.

Government support for innovation in science and technology is primarily to address the needs of the people of South Africa.

Government support extends to the provision of funds for engaging in research or developing new ideas, and for the provision of the infra-structure needed to conduct the research.

It is possible to use your mobile phone to read all about the IP recommendations online. You can also use your mobile phone to play casino games at mobile casinos.

Intellectual property includes a wide range of information and know-how. The range of IP includes ‘know-how’, trade-secrets, industrial designs, trade-marks, plant variety rights, copyrights, geographical indications and patents. Most of these need registration, others, like copyright, provide automatic cover once expressed in ‘writing’.

Innovation should be stimulated through interaction with others within and without South Africa, particularly in relation to new science and technologies. New discoveries in science and technology are most often the result of large consortia across the world working together to enhance the basic knowledge that leads to innovation. This is especially true for advances in ‘new’ sciences – Information sciences, technology and database design, biotechnology, genetics, nanotechnology and synthetic biology are examples.