Review of Paradigm Shift in Patent Within Digital Environment and Possible Implications for Economic Development in Africa

  • Stephen Odirachukwu MwimEmail author
  • Tana Pistorius
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS, volume 70)


This study examines the impact of BMP protection on development by focusing on the challenges confronting economic growth in African communities as a result of the new paradigm in patent law. [Africa is used as a single unit in this study but this should not be construed as African homogeneity. Rather the views advanced in this study are used to could be applicable to many communities in Africa.] There are very few study on the impact of BMPs perspectives on economic development particularly in Africa. The purpose of this paper is therefore to review the extent of debates and discourses that has taken place among researchers and policy makers on the impact of BMPs perspectives on economic development in Africa. The paper deems it important to ignite or accelerate debate in this area. As a starting point the paper reviews (from the point of views of legal philosophers, policy makers and decisions of competent courts) the relevant literature, patent legislation particularly the International Treaty, policies and legal judgments. Findings from this study suggest that over and above the various criticisms levelled against the extreme liberal approach to the recognition of business methods as patentable subject matter, there are other specific implications that are associated with such approach. The most critical implication of extending patent protection to business methods is the locking-up of knowledge which may hamper human development in general and economic development in particular. Locking up knowledge that is otherwise necessary for economic advancement and competitiveness may have a negative effect on economic growth by promoting economic exclusion, particularly in African communities. This study suggests that advancing a system of BMP within the African context and the extent of protection linked to business methods is crucial in achieving a sustainable economic growth in Africa. It also suggests that a balance should be struck between the two diametrically opposing views on the protection of business methods.


Africa Business Method Patenting Digital economic growth Patent protection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South Africa (UNISA)PretoriaSouth Africa

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