Patenting of research innovations in learning institutions is a critical tool in safeguarding against certain malpractices such as plagiarism thus ensuring the original intellectual property is fully protected, recognized and compensated.
This was revealed when the Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University-Industry Liaison (DIPUIL) hosted a delegation from Kabianga University that visited Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology on a mission to benchmark on the JKUAT innovation management system, Friday, February 19, 2021.
The team was taken through the various types of IP rights like industrial designs, trademarks as well as challenges faced in IP management namely; low IP awareness, lack of skills and scattering of technology transfer functions and IP management tools like IP policy and standard operating procedures.
During his presentation on Intellectual Property (IP) Management and Innovation, whose objective was to give the delegation a clear picture on the importance of securing innovation rights particularly in institutions of higher learning, Eng. B.K. Kariuki, the Director, DIPUIL, said the University and Industry are inter-linked in areas of intellectual property, and therefore there is need to strengthen and consolidate their functions as it is a vital component in solving problems, while stimulating growth of the industrialization sector.
“Intellectual Property provides avenues for the industry to tap and solve any issues that may arise.” Eng Kariuki asserted. He further underscored the importance of IP in packaging information, adding the industry relies on the information disseminated by the University through research to enhance its functions thus ensuring sustainability.
The DIPUIL Director further noted that lack of IP rights was an impediment to researchers and innovation stakeholders in acquiring funding and investment opportunities to commercialize their innovation outputs urging the participants to embrace IP management to safeguard their work and ideas.
Eng. Kariuki said JKUAT has been working with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 2019, in ensuring innovation is well defined and makes an impact in the society, and challenged the Kabianga team to prepare their proposal carefully, keeping in mind how the local community surrounding the University would gain, reiterating that any conceivable innovation initiative should spur progress and provide solutions to the community and the country at large. “Think globally but act locally,” he asserted.
On the importance of setting up an IP office in an institution, Eng Kariuki encouraged the team to establish an IP office ensures IP management protocols are well consolidated, diligently followed and safeguarded accordingly.
Regarding the impact of the benchmarking mission, Kabianga University’s Director Research and Extension, Prof. Issa Mwamzandi, who was the team leader, appreciated DIPUIL team saying that Intellectual Property would spearhead domestication of innovations at the grass root level.
“This meeting has been an eye-opener on matters IP management and innovation. “We hope that we can have more deliberations to ensure we do research worth investing in,” Prof. Mwamzandi said.
Kabianga University, a recently established institution according to the team leader, has plans to write a proposal to put up an eight-storey innovation center to spur student’s innovation.
“Our education inculcates consumerism which should not be the case. We have to broaden our minds to ensure our students are shaped accordingly for them to thrive,” Prof. Mwamzandi said.
According to Prof. Mwamzandi the visit which culminated in a tour of the various innovations on display at the Engineering workshops, was informative on matters IP, ensuring they leverage on first-hand information and knowledge to prepare a quality proposal.