Africa loses billions in intellectual property rights - VC

IP Roving Seminar for Academic and Research Institution

Africa is losing billions of dollars due to lack of Intellectual Property (IP) protection, the Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, has said.

Professor Norris was speaking at the official opening of a two-day IP Roving Seminar for Academic and Research Institution at the UB Conference Centre on July 5, 2018. The seminar was organised under the theme: Fostering Creativity and Innovation for Economic growth and Development in Africa.

Professor Norris attributed the loss of such huge sums of money to the fact that many African countries were not properly signed up to global protocols protecting IP rights.

To offset the problem, the Vice Chancellor encouraged tertiary institution to become epicenters of economic diversification through research output uptake, policy influence and commercialisation as key activities premised on IP.

As such, Professor Norris said research and innovation outputs should now include deliverables in IP, commercialisation and influence to public policies intended for economic diversification, industrialisation, beneficiation of products and innovative business practices. 

In addition, he said development of IP tools would be premised on developing IP polices for institutions and ensuring that such were implemented.

Companies and Intellectual Property Authority CIPA) Registrar General, Mr Conductor Paul Masena, said when officiating at the event, that it was critical for researchers to understand the value of IP system not to only protect their innovations, but to also commercialize them for economic benefit. Mr Masena also urged researchers to instil innovative minds in their students through projects they undertook while studying.

On the other hand, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) Director General, Mr Fernando Dos Santos, highlighted the contribution of Botswana universities and research institutions to the statistics of patents using ARIPO route to protect their endeavours in the region.

The Seminar was organised by UB in partnership with ARIPO and CIPA. Its aim was to create awareness on IP and its benefits for economic development and how Africa could make better use of IP for business competitiveness and development.

Other activities at the seminar included a series of presentations on copyright protection for publications, issues of the digital environment, patents, trademarks and branding, creative industries, books, visual and performing arts and designs.