There is a low level of Intellectual Property awareness in African Universities which has led to a considerable loss of revenue due to poor or in-existent frameworks for Intellectual Property (IP) asset management.
It was as a result of this reason that WIPO in collaboration with African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) procured the support of the Japan Patent Office, in commissioning the development of the Guidelines on Elaboration of Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy. The guidelines aim at supporting Universities and Research and Development (R&D) Organisations in Africa to effectively use the IP systems to enhance their contribution to the development goals of their respective economies.
Senior Counsellor, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Ms. Loretta Asiedu said in order to address some of the socio-economic challenges facing various countries, economies would by and large depend heavily on the knowledge produced by universities and Research and Development organisations.
“In this regard, more attention has to be given to supporting our universities and research institutions by creating incentives, an enabling environment and robust IP frameworks which foster research, innovation and creativity,” opined Ms. Asiedu.
She was speaking during the launch of the Pilot Project on the Implementation of the WIPO/ARIPO Guidelines on Elaboration of Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, September 17, 2019.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi informed the congregation that JKUAT has been in the forefront in the region in spearheading matters IP, a move that necessitated the creation of the Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University Industry Liaison (DIPUIL) to collaborate with industries in 2014.
“The success story following the establishment of DIPUIL has seen establishments within the region visit JKUAT for benchmarking, as well as our staff being invited to set up IP management offices in such establishments,” noted Prof. Ngumi.
JKUAT has 54 IP Rights, broken down as; 8 Patents, 15 Utility Models, 27 Trademarks, 1 Industrial design, and 3 Copyrights. These significant strides have made JKUAT emerge as one of the five selected institutions among the 45 that expressed interest in being competitively selected as pilots for the implementation in the 19 ARIPO Member States.
Mr. Fumiaki Hirai from the Embassy of Japan said Japan was committed to providing capacity building of IP management in Africa with the purpose of promoting and enhancing the utilization of IP in academia and research organisation.
The National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) Director General, Dr. Moses Rugutt said the commission supports academic and research institutions to establish and implement policy framework for the management of IP arising from research activity.
“This is in recognition that a robust institutional IP regime stimulates research, discovery and contributes to the overall quality of the science, technology and innovation enterprise,” said Dr. Rugutt in a speech read by NACOSTI Technical Services Director, Dr. Roy Mugira.
During the launch, presentations on the importance of IP for universities and R&D institutes; and the status of IP asset management in JKUAT were delivered.