Goals & Functions

The African IP Trust has the following initial goals and functions:

  • To support and reinforce stakeholders aiming to control brands, other IP and distribution
  • To support stakeholders as challenges are made to their rights
  • Campaign by persuading opposing businesses, demonstrated in the Ethiopian fine coffee initiative as a successful struggle with “big coffee” over ownership of U.S. trademarks
  • Benefit both sides by reducing protracted challenges as occurred in the Ethiopian coffee dispute

If needed, the AIPT will gradually expand to the following additional functions for groups of producers at an earlier stage of organizing to carry out an IPVC initiative:

  • Develop processes for fairly determining who are relevant stakeholders with a fair claim to ownership of brands and other IP instruments
  • Help stakeholders to design organizing structures, suitable for each different situation, structuring the group ownership entities for their IP (brands, trade marks, designs, trade secrets, etc.), in transparent, participatory and legally robust ways
  • Facilitate membership for all, to enable collective rights and ownership
  • Provide an “umbrella” of protection for qualifying groups of owners, gradually extending this to tens of millions of Africans
  • Advocate for balance and fairness in enforcing foreign IP in Africa, as well as African IP in other countries, increasing this advocacy as respect for IP grows in both parts of the world
  • Create the ability to hold in temporary trust certain IP rights where the rights owners have not been fully identified.

The African IP Trust is:

  • To function as a supporting lobby for African stakeholders and to contact appropriate (foreign) businesses to seek their collaboration with the stakeholders in IP Value Capture strategies
  • To be activated by powerful individuals who will act individually and collectively on a case -by – case basis to influence such businesses.
  • To assist low-income African stakeholders overcome opposition from business partners to IP Value Capture strategic interventions designed by Light Years IP and others to large groups of low-income producers.
  • To become a known and respected entity whose collective model of power and influence toward corporate collaboration with low-income stakeholders will achieve impact and a reputation of respect by businesses in Europe, the U.S.
  • To operate as a networked, largely virtual organization sharing knowledge of various stakeholder cases with a main office in Washington, DC and operating throughout Africa.
  • To hold as its mission the improvement of income gains and income security through utilizing influence on participants in the supply chain (largely wholesalers and retailers) who misuse African stakeholders rights.

The African IP Trust is not:

  • An institutionalized bureaucracy in need of a large operating budget, as its role is largely to serve as a lobbying, influencing body for stakeholders.  Members hold paid responsible positions elsewhere.
  • The AIPT does not need stratified staff, employees, and executives, because the AIPT does not develop its own IPVC strategies.
  • The AIPT is not designing IP strategies, but rather supporting IP strategies designed by Light Years IP and stakeholders.
  • Finally, the AIPT does not solicit stakeholders, because the IPVC strategies and funds required to research and design and implement strategies for the stakeholders involves a long process.