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photoDr. Tobias Schonwetter is the Director of the Intellectual Property Unit and the Regional Coordinator for Africa for the Creative Commons Corporation. He specialises in intellectual property law generally and copyright law and innovation specifically. He currently is a Principal Investigator for the Open AIR project, an African-wide research and capacity building collaboration on intellectual property law, innovation and development on the continent. Previously, Tobias was a Senior Manager – Technology and Innovation Law – at PwC South Africa and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town’s Intellectual Property Research Unit. He specialises in intellectual property, particularly the relationship between intellectual property and innovation. Since 2009 Tobias is also the legal lead of Creative Commons South Africa. Tobias was involved in a number of IP-related research and capacity building projects, including the Open Review of the South African Copyright Act 1978 project and the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) project. At present, Tobias leads, together with Prof. Jeremy de Beer (University of Ottawa, Canada) the aforementioned IDRC- and GIZ funded Open AIR (African Innovation Research and Training) project. Tobias studied and practiced law in Germany, the U.S. and South Africa, and holds Ph.D. and LL.M. degrees from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. He has been awarded with the prestigious UCT Research Fellowship Award for his doctoral studies in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Tobias has written numerous articles on copyright law and he has spoken at various national as well as international conferences. Tobias’s linked profile is available here and his twitter handle is @tobyschonwetter .

Associate Professor Caroline Ncube is the Head of the Department of Commercial Law. Before joining UCT in 2005 she lectured at the University of Limpopo (formerly University of the North) and the University of Zimbabwe. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she practiced as an attorney and conveyancer with Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, in Harare Zimbabwe. Caroline obtained her LLB from the University of Zimbabwe and her LLM from the University of Cambridge where she majored in Intellectual Property Law and Company Law. She obtained her PhD in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Cape Town. Her other research interests include E-law and the use of ICTs in legal teaching. Caroline plays an active role in various professional associations and served as the developing country co-chair of the World IT Forum’s commission on social, legal and ethical aspects in 2007.She is often invited to give lectures and seminars in Intellectual Property to various constituencies including WIPO Summer School students and librarians. Caroline is also actively involved in research projects that focus on open development, access to knowledge and the promotion of a balanced approach to IP. Further information about her publications and teaching is available here. Her twitter handle is @caro_ncube.

Lee-Ann Tong is a senior lecturer in the Department of Commercial Law and the IP Unit’s Deputy Director. She holds LL.M. degrees in Intellectual Property Law from University College London and the University of Turin. She is the convenor for the postgraduate Intellectual Property Law programme and convenor of the LL.B. Intellectual Property law elective and research focus group. Lee-Ann’s main area of interest is the allocation of intellectual property rights in the employment context.


Julian_Kinderlerer_thumbEmeritus Professor Julian Kinderlerer was the IP Unit’s first director until the beginning of 2013. Julian is also a former Professor of Biotechnology & Society at the Technology University in Delft, The Netherlands, former Director of the Sheffield Institute of Biotechnology Law and Ethics and honorary Professor of Biotechnology Law at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He is the President of the European Group on Ethics (EGE) in Science and New Technologies that reports to the European Commission, Council and Parliament on ethical issues. He is also a member of the South African Nanotechnology Ethics committee. In 2000 he was seconded to the United Nations Environment Programme to design and implement a project designed to assist developing countries develop their regulatory system to comply with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that eventually involved over 130 countries. He has also acted as the Specialist Adviser to a House of Lords Select Committee on European Agriculture and modern Biotechnology.

Eve Gray has a background in academic publishing, she brings to her promotion of Access to Knowledge an awareness of the value of the professional skills that publishers contribute knowledge dissemination and their understanding of the strategic importance of effective dissemination. Eve also sees the potential for digital media to transcend both the limitations of the traditional publishing models in the global South and the knowledge barriers that face the developing world. In 2006-7 Eve was an International Policy Fellow of the Open Society Institute, Budapest, in the Open Information Working Group. She has worked in a number of projects relating to access to and participation in the communication and publication of African research. She is currently the Project Lead for the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme, a four-country project funded by the IDRC. Her major role in the project relates to policy development for scholarly communications at institutional and national level in the participating countries, working in partnership with the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA). Eve is a member of the Committee on Scholarly Publishing of the Academy of Science of South Africa, which is responsible for the implementation of a government-funded open access scholarly publishing journal programme in South Africa, in collaboration with SciELO in Brazil. She is a Trustee of the Electronic Publishing Trust, a UK-based Trust, which works with developing country scientists and publishers to improve access to the world’s research literature and to raise the visibility of research findings published in developing countries. Eve blogs here.

BernardMaisterDr. Bernard Maister is a senior research associate for the Unit. He is a graduate of the William Mitchell College of Law (Minnesota) and also has an LL.M. from the Cardozo School of Law (New York). He is a licensed attorney in Minnesota and New York. As a member of the “patent bar”, he is authorised to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has worked as an attorney in law firms in Minnesota and New York involved in patent prosecution and litigation and pharmaceutical mass torts. Bernard’s current affiliation with the IP Unit arose out of his work on the impact of Intellectual Property Rights on innovation and development with particular reference to the Millennium Development Goals as part of a major research project under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The results of this were later published with Bernard as a contributing author. He has subsequently participated in research and published in other areas related to various aspects of international intellectual property rights focusing on such areas as traditional knowledge and the role of IP in developing countries. More recently he has begun working in the area of Plant Breeders’ Rights, food security and the role of patenting in biotechnology. In addition to these activities Bernard plays an active role in the teaching program of the IP Unit. Prior to his legal career, Bernard worked as a pediatric neurologist in the United States. His medical degree is from U.C.T.

Nan Warner is the Project Manager of two projects: the Open A.I.R. (Open African Innovation Research and Training) project and the African Scholars for Knowledge Justice (ASK Justice) project. Previously she was Manager, African Academic Links section of the International Academic Programmes Office at the University of Cape Town, and Director of the USHEPiA (University Science, Law, Humanities, and Engineering Partnerships in Africa) Programme. She designed and ran the AU/RPN (Association of African Universities / USHEPiA Research Publication Network) from 2000 – 2002; the UPAAE (UNESCO Pilot African Academic Exchange Programme) from 1999 – 2001; the EAAV (Eric Abraham Academic Visitorship Programme) from 2007 – 2011; and the UCT/AAU (UCT/AAU Academic Staff Exchange Programme) from 2010 – 2011. In the area of development, Nan was part of the European Universities Association ‘Access to Success’ Project and participated in workshops and the launch of the White Paper in 2010. She assisted in the development of the Nyerere (Supporting Academic Mobility and Revitalisation of Higher Education in Africa) Programme, launched in 2010. She was part of the EUA-CED Global Strategic Forum on Doctoral Education in 2011, and presented on ‘Mobility, Brain Drain, and Brain Circulation’; and was invited to participate in the HESA/BRITISH ACADEMY/ACU ‘Foundations for the Future: Supporting Early Career Research in Africa : A workshop as part of the Nairobi Process on strengthening the humanities and social sciences in African universities’ in 2011. Nan has an M.Ed. from the University of the Western Cape in Higher Education Studies, a Certificate in Management from the South African Qualifications Authority, and has attended a number of training courses in relevant disciplines.

Michelle Willmers is the project manager and a researcher on the Institutionalising Open Data Practice in Africa project. She has a background in academic and scholarly publishing and works as a consultant in scholarly communication. She has experience as an academic journal editor and publishing manager and has worked in the field of open access and open educational resources (OER) since 2008. Michelle was a senior team member in the Shuttleworth Foundation OER UCT initiative and was the programme manager of the IDRC Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP), a four-country research and publishing initiative aimed at increasing the visibility of African research. Until December 2014, she was the project manager of the OpenUCT initiative.


Theresa Hume first joined UCT in 2010 as the Finance and Administration Assistant for the Centre of Criminology. Prior to this, Theresa was part of an organisation supporting individuals to re-imagine and transform the way in which governance is accomplished through safety and security. Theresa has been working with Wikimedia ZA as Administrative Assistant for the past 2 years, and is passionate about open and free access to knowledge for all, and innovation through collaboration. Theresa returned to UCT in July 2015 in a part time capacity to support the Open Air and other projects.


Phyllis Webb joined UCT in 1990 in the Finance area. She quickly moved around within Central Finance to gain experience in all aspects of finance procedures at UCT. After 7 years in IAPO and 17 years at UCT, Phyllis left to work at an NGO which allowed her to maintain links with tertiary education in South Africa. Phyllis joined the Open Air Project in October 2011 as a Finance Administrator and is now the Finance Administrator for the ASK Justice project.


Dr. Laura Foster is a senior research associate for the Unit based in the U.S. She is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Affiliate Faculty with the Mauer School of Law & Department of African Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research broadly focuses on the co-constituted relationships of law and science, and how such interactions historically structure and reinforce certain bodies, identities, knowledges, and practices over others. She draws upon her expertise in science and technology studies, feminist and critical race legal theory, transnational/post-colonial feminisms, feminist research methodologies, and intellectual property law as well as her legal practice experience in both human rights and corporate law in the U.S. and in Southern Africa.


Andrew Rens (currently at the Duke Law School, U.S.). Andrew Rens thinks and writes about the interaction of law, knowledge and innovation, and blogs his thoughts at aliquidnovi. At the Unit, Andrew taught a Master’s course in Telecommunications Law. Andrew has worked in academia, private practise and the non profit sector. He was the founding Legal Lead of Creative Commons South Africa, a co-founder and former director of The African Commons Project, a charter member and director of Freedom to Innovate South Africa ,a fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society , and a research associate at the LINK Center at the School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Andrew qualified as an attorney in South Africa, and was awarded a Master of Laws from the Law School at the University of the Witwatersrand where he where he subsequently taught Master’s courses in Intellectual Property, Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Space and Satellite, and Media and Information Technology Law, before spending several years in San Francisco, California. Andrew completed a three year fellowship as the Intellectual Property Fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation. Andrew is a co-PI for the ASK Justice project.

Dr. Johanna von Braun is a senior research associate for the Unit based in New York. Johanna works for Natural Justice -a South African legal non-profit organisation that works on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Southern Africa – and her focus is on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Development. Within this field, she investigates issues related to genetic resources and the related rights of local and indigenous communities, as well as public health and access to medicines. Johanna has extensive work experience in a range of civil society organisations in the area of IPRs, trade and sustainable development, most recently with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, where she was part of the UNCTAD-ICTSD Program on IPRs and Sustainable Development. She continues to work as a consultant for different UN and civil society organisations on access to medicines. Johanna has a BA Hons from the University of Sussex in International Relations and Development Studies, a Master in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, and a PhD in Law from Queen Mary College’s Centre for Commercial Law, University of London. Johanna teaches a course on IP and Development.

Dr. Bram De Jonge is a visiting researcher from the Law & Governance Group of Wageningen University, the Netherlands, where he works in the field of Intellectual Property Rights, genetic resources policies, and international development.


Yvonne Alexandra Kisuule is a Research Assistant with the IP Unit. She is working on a number of projects, including ‘Empowering Indigenous Peoples and Knowledge Systems Related to Climate Change and Intellectual Property Rights’. Her other research interests include Geographical Indications in developing countries. Yvonne obtained her LLB from Makerere University, Uganda, and her LLM from the University of Cape Town, where she specialised in Intellectual Property Law.


David Frick is a student assistant. He is a Cape Town based final year law student, reading by correspondence for his LLB with the HFH University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, Germany. Previously, he completed his basic studies at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and was enrolled at UCT as a visiting student from 2012 to 2013. David has special experience in German and South African Private Law and a particular interest in the effects of the internationalisation of economic relations, commercial traffic and societal developments on data protection and intellectual property issues. He has extensive foreign language skills and distinctive intercultural competence regarding the relations between Germany and South Africa. David has previously worked as a volunteer for the Refugee Rights Unit at the UCT Law Clinic and as a research assistant for an anthropological research project.