OFFICIAL OPENING REMARKS BY PROF. LUCY IRUNGU THE VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PROFESSOR OF ENTOMOLOGY DURING THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP AND SUPPORT IN DEVELOPMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY FOR MACHAKOS UNIVERSITY STAFF HELD ON JUNE 20TH, 2018 AT MACHAKOS UNIVERSITY HOTEL.
- The Managing Director, Kenya Industrial Property Institute, Mr. Sylvance Sange and his team
- Deputy Vice-Chancellors
- Deans of Schools
- Directors of various Directorates
- Heads of Departments and Sections
- Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good morning to you all. I am happy to be with you in this forum with the objective of gaining insights into the place of Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Rights in our daily work. May I thank the Managing Director of Kenya Industrial Property Institute together with his team for honoring my invitation to preside over this training. I thank the Division of Research, Innovation and Linkages for coordinating this event.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This workshop has been organized to help us improve in our efforts to protect our Intellectual Property. Whereas we are making some strides, these are not enough and we need to appreciate the fact that there is no room anywhere, bigger than the room for improvement. It is my hope that after this session, we shall do much better. With this in mind, let me share my thoughts about Intellectual Property.
World Intellectual Property Day
In appreciating the value of Intellectual Property, every April 26, has been marked the “World Intellectual Property Day” to learn about the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the year 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe”
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Universities are the drivers of socio-economic growth and development. In every agenda, whether national or international, there is a mention of the contributions of research and innovation for sustainable development. Machakos University, as you all know and as has already been mentioned by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of research, innovation and linkages, our mission emphasizes; “Research and Innovation for Industrial and socio-economic transformation of our communities.” This implies that in seeking to transform communities innovation and creativity become the bedrock. Enshrined in these domains is the intellectual property, which exists to encourage innovation and creativity, which stimulate improvements in our quality of life, spur economic growth and address the radical challenges we confront such as climate change, clean energy, food security and health.
Intellectual property is a product of research and innovation, which are tied to the University’s strategic objective of contributing to the development of the society through creation, preservation, application and dissemination of knowledge. This way, intellectual property plays an essential role in innovation by capturing the economic value of innovation, thereby encouraging investment in research and development, and by arbitrating between the encouragement of investment in innovation, on the one hand, and the sharing of the social benefits of innovation, on the other hand. These work to protect against theft of ideas.
According to a recent survey, the value and awareness of Intellectual Property (IP) potential for providing opportunities and gains in the future is widely under estimated by universities. However, once IP is officially protected and there is request for the IP-protection of research and innovation or technology, it can become a valuable asset due to the encouragement of commercialization, technology transfer and also the promotion of international trade. This is the essence of this workshop, so that as participants we come to know of the opportunities that IP presents to us, and how we can utilize such opportunities, first as individuals and then second, as an institution.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2017, a scholar, Martha Ikome noted that when used adequately, IP may enhance the worth of universities in the eyes of financial institutions. Hence, in the event of licensing or trade, IP assets may significantly raise the value of the university. Usually, the assets that have tended to constitute the majority value of most business entities and have largely been responsible for determining the competitiveness of an organization are the physical or tangible assets. However, these scenarios have changed as a result of the revolution of the information technologies, and intangible assets ranging from human capital such as research and innovation, designs and other intangible assets from the creativity capacity, have often become more valuable than the physical assets.
It has been consistently shown that if left unprotected, a good invention or creation may be lost to opportunistic competitors who might have a better chance of taking the product or service to the next level, which is the commercialization process at a more affordable price. This situation results in the original inventor or creator being left with no reward or financial benefit for their hard work. Adequate protection of IP generated within the university is therefore a very important step in turning ideas into market values or business assets, as well as deterring a potential infringement right. As researchers and innovators, we generate new ideas, data and inventions almost on daily basis, some of it even by our students. In scholarship, anti-plagiarism efforts alone cannot suffice; we need IP laws and policies to curb against intellectual property theft.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
While treasuring this workshop and all that I have shared, I take the pleasure to declare this workshop officially open and welcome the trainers to take charge.