JKUAT Acquires More Patents

Director, DIPUIL, Eng. Benson .K. Kariuki  gives a description of the University patents during an interview at his office

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), through the Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University-Liaison (DIPUIL), has acquired 9 more Certificates of Grant of Patent since the year 2018, increasing the total number of patents to 13.

These certificates were awarded by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), alongside other intellectual property rights, following rigorous assessment and examination to ascertain that the intellectual property meets the criteria set by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Speaking during an interview, the Director, DIPUIL, Eng. Benson. K. Kariuki said, any person or organization is eligible for a patent, provided that they come up with a new invention that has never been done before. It also has to be non-obvious and applicable in a certain industry.

Eng. Kariuki emphasized the importance of an Intellectual Property (IP) office to any educational institution, saying that it identifies and assesses IP assets, implements intellectual property policies, assists the innovators to access patent information databases through WIPO and initiates collaborations between the institutions and the industry.

The director further stated that the directorate initiates, promotes and strengthens technology transfer and commercialization of the university’s intellectual property assets with a view of providing economic returns to the institution.

Shedding light on the process leading to the award of certificates of Grant of patents, researchers and innovators must write a detailed document, clearly describing the project from the start to the end, and stating their claim to the property.

 This document is then taken by DIPUIL to KIPI, who examine it to ensure that its contents are in compliance with the law, and the Industrial Property Act of 2001.

“After 18 months, the document is published to the global database and a certificate of grant of Patent is issued. The certificates are valid for 20 years after which anyone can access and use the intellectual property,” He observed.

JKUAT remains the leading university in Kenya and one of the few public universities in Sub- Saharan Africa in IP applications.

“These patents are very important because they are proof of ownership of intellectual property by this institution, and anyone found using this property is liable for a lawsuit,’ stated Eng. Kariuki.

He further underscored the significance for the sensitization of students and staff on issues of intellectual property and its rights, so that as a society, we can learn how to own and fully utilize our intellectual property by commercializing it, in order to build a more industrialized economy.

Some of the IP workshops Eng. Kariuki has been involved in include in Harare, Zimbabwe, held on September 16-18, 2019, an initiative aimed at building capacity of universities in terms of preparing robust Intellectual Property (IP) Policies that address their unique situations.

JKUAT is recognized as one of the few universities in Sub-Saharan Africa to have a well-established IP office and policy, having been picked by WIPO to be a pilot project in creating the policy in 2019.

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