ATC131107: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill [PMB 3 – 2013], dated 6 November 2013:

Trade and Industry

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill [PMB 3 – 2013], dated 6 November 2013:

The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, having considered the subject of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill [PMB 3 – 2013] (National Assembly – sec 76), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 76 Bill, reports as follows:

1.     The Bill was introduced and referred to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry for consideration and report on 17 April 2013 (see ATC, dated 17 April 2013).

2.     In compliance with the interim measures for the introduction and consideration of private members’ Bills, the committee provided reasonable notice to the member who introduced the Bill, Dr W James, to brief the committee on 12 September 2013 on the content of the introduced Bill.

3.     On 12 September 2013, the committee took a decision to request Dr James to comment on the submissions received on the Bill and to brief the committee on 18 October 2013.

On 25 and 29 October 2013 as well as 1 November 2013, the committee considered the submissions that were received on the Bill that was published in the Government Gazette.

4.     During the deliberations, the committee considered the merits of the Bill.

5.     After considering the submissions received and after further deliberations on the Bill, the committee concluded that:

a.     the protection of traditional knowledge is not uncompetitive;

b.    traditional knowledge should be protected under the umbrella of “intellectual property”; and

c.     the Bill and the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill [B 10 – 2010] both seek the protection of traditional/indigenous knowledge, with the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill favouring a “stand alone bill”.

6.     The initial draft of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill was submitted for consideration by the committee during the call for submissions on the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill.

7.     In its report on the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill, dated 19 October 2011, the committee rejected an amendment moved by the Democratic Alliance, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Freedom Front Plus that the Department of Trade and Industry should submit a new sui generis Bill, dealing solely with indigenous knowledge. The committee is still of the view that the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill, which incorporates the protection of indigenous knowledge into existing intellectual property legislation, is the correct approach.

The committee, having considered the desirability of the subject matter of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill in terms of the interim measures for the introduction and consideration of private members’ Bills, reports that it has rejected the private member’s Bill.

The DA, the Congress of the People, and the African Christian Democratic Party objected and are of the view that the protection of indigenous knowledge is best served through a sui generis Bill.

Report to be considered.

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