The significance of intellectual property (IP) rights cannot be overstated in today's world, where creativity and innovation are driving forces for economic growth and development. Kenya has taken significant steps to strengthen its IP laws in recent years by enacting new regulations as well as becoming a member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), which provides a regional framework for IP protection and cooperation.
The University of Nairobi, in collaboration with ARIPO and the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), is hosting a three-day seminar on the Intellectual Property Roving Seminar for Academic & Research Institutions from 31st October to 2nd November 2023. Over the course of three days, the seminar will delve into intellectual property principles and concepts, providing insights into patents, utility models, the Kenyan IP legal framework, and the promotion of IP use and exploitation within universities, among many other topics.
The seminar began with a warm welcome from Prof. Mary Kinoti, the Director of the Intellectual Property Management Office at the University of Nairobi. Prof. Kinoti emphasized the critical need for continuous training sessions to sensitize academia and research institutions on intellectual property management, underscoring its pivotal role in fostering innovation. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Prof. Stephen Kiama, acknowledged the IPMO's efforts in sensitizing staff and students on the importance of intellectual property stating “as a University, we have committed to training our students to have a mindset of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We appreciate the value of Intellectual Property because we produce many IP assets.”
Dr. Kamau Gachigi, the Founding Executive Director of Gearbox Pan African Networks, graced the event as the chief guest. During his captivating keynote address, he fondly reminisced about his personal experiences at the University of Nairobi, shedding light on the remarkable innovations that have emerged from the brilliant minds within the Faculty of Engineering. Furthermore, he provided valuable insights into Gearbox's ongoing initiatives and endeavors.
Dr. Gachigi emphasized the critical aspect of safeguarding intellectual property, asserting, “Even as we come with inventions, we must remember to protect our intellectual property (IP), which deals with the creations of the human mind. IP has been identified as an important tool for the promotion of social, cultural, and economic development. I thank ARIPO, KIPI, and the University of Nairobi for organizing this Seminar, which is very important to us, because we are going to learn from the facilitators how to identify what IP assets we have, how to protect them and how to commercialize them.” he implored academia and research institutions to approach every research project with an entrepreneurial perspective, fostering the creation of innovations that can effectively tackle the multitude of global challenges.
Ramadhan Said, representing ARIPO, articulated the organization's commitment to raising IP awareness and expertise across the African continent. Through various initiatives, ARIPO strives to enlighten minds, fostering a climate where intellectual property flourishes as a means of driving innovation and development.
Mr. John Onyango, the Acting Managing Director of KIPI, highlighted the pivotal role universities and research institutions play in national development stating, “We appreciate the fact that universities and research institutions hold key to the social and economic development of the country as the researches undertaken should provide innovative solutions to the many challenges we are facing. This seminar will go a long way to increasing IP awareness in the country amongst universities and research institutions. He underscored KIPI's collaborative efforts to stimulate research and innovation, enabling the formulation of institutional IP policies that guide the management and equitable sharing of benefits arising from innovations.
This 3-day seminar has drawn participants from Bomet University, Kenyatta University, Strathmore University, GRETSA University, Kenya Methodist University, Egerton University, Tharaka University, Laikipia University, National Research Fund as well as staff and students from the University of Nairobi