Wednesday 29 June 2011


PIIPA aims to establish IP centres in African universities

From Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA)'s June 2011 Newsletter comes this item:
"Establishing IP Centers of Innovation and Creativity in African Universities - The establishment of IP Centers of Innovation and Creativity (IP-CIC) at leading higher education institutions in Africa is an important first step towards enabling the educators, inventors, businesses and service organizations in these countries to begin to realize protection and financial gain from their creative endeavors. The use of IP systems further helps countries to address food security, poverty reduction, improves access to medicines, protects biological diversity, and increases opportunities to use clean technologies to address climate change. This initiative will also assist countries in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)".
A full account of this initiative can be downloaded in the form of a short document (10 pages, with a big table of acronyms) here. The objectives of the three-year plan are as follows:
"1. Enable acquisition, transfer and utilization of technology to and from the university in a responsible manner so that the institution becomes accountable to the government, the public (the tax payers) and the inventors.  
2. Facilitate and strengthen links between the university and the private sector due to the increased confidence of industry that their business secrets and confidential information can be safeguarded by the public sector during and after their collaboration.   
3. Play a role in the reduction of brain drain in the institution because researchers will become assured and inspired by the provision in the IP policy of sharing benefits arising out of their
inventions /innovations that reach the market and generate royalties.  
4. Enable the generation of income for the institution and hence for the government. 
5. Enable the harmonization of interests of the stakeholders in the university and the society chain of creativity and its utilization. 
6. Provide expertise in handling research contracts especially involving collaborative research, genetic resources and indigenous knowledge.  
7. Guard against premature disclosure of inventions at the university.  
8. Facilitate the resolution of IP disputes.  
9. Contribute significantly to national development and economic empowerment because many useful inventions translate into many jobs.   
10. Be an IP/technology transfer (TT) focal point for those who cannot afford to reach the national IP offices".
Afro-IP will monitor developments as best it can. The brain-drain point is, it seems to him, particularly important since even the best innovation creation and management system in the world can't operate better than the quality of those running it, whereas a bad system run by bright, imaginative people can still achieve quite a bit.



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29 June 2011 at 10:19 delete

Fantastic idea, but how is it going to be funded when most universities (particularly in the sub-saharan)struggle to pay wages for a start?

Hope PPP can work, with international agencies providing a buffer.

And Yes, it is imperative that the brain drain issue is addressed (NB: most states have tried and failed on this issue).

South Africa appears ripe for this initiative though.