Three global and regional organizations dealing with the administration of intellectual property (IP) rights have jointly selected Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), as one of the five pilot institutions in Africa to benefit from technical assistance towards the development / implementation of an Institutional IP Policy. The project is supported by Japan Funds-in-Trust for Africa and Least Developed Countries.
The three organizations – the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in collaboration with the African Regional Intellectual Property organization (ARIPO) and the Organization Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle (OAPI) stated in their communication to the University that “JKUAT was selected after a rigorous process.”
It involved floating of an advertisement that sought institutions interested to express their interest.
The main goal of the project is “to promote the development of the institutional IP policies in order to stimulate local innovation and technology transfer in Africa for economic growth and social development by providing the public research organizations (PROs) with the necessary support such as establishing and improving the necessary infrastructure (legal and organizational).”
Other goals include: developing professional skills for the effective use of the IP system in the area of innovation and technology transfer; enhancing the understanding of the potential uses of the IP system for development and growth; and greatly facilitating the availability of the tools, guides and models relating to IP infrastructure and management.
The implementation of the project will assist research institutes and universities in Africa in setting up and improving the necessary mechanisms for technology transfer from the public sector, including setting up technology transfer offices (TTOs) and PROs.
The Technical Assistance will require JKUAT and the other institutions to hold IP awareness raising workshops, capacity building and skills development programmes, such as patents drafting training, updating the existing IP policies/strategies, human resource development to enhance IP management capacity, including the development and strengthening of institutional IP policy / strategy and enhanced access to, and use of patent, scientific and technological information to promote innovation and creativity.
According to Eng. Benson Kariuki, the IP Management and University – Industry Liaison (DIPUIL) Director, who has been appointed the University Liaison contact person with WIPO, 51 intellectual property rights certificates have been issued to JKUAT. They cover patents, registered utility models, registered trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights.