Columnists

Kenya is Africa’s finest in Intellectual Property

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Summary

  • Intellectual property takes many forms, among them patents, utility designs, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, industrial designs and plant varieties.
  • Corporates, universities, schools, vocational institutions, and research institutions should identify and mentor inventors.

Global economies are reeling from the harsh realities occasioned by the stochastic spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019 and its attendant variants. Combined with intensified adverse weather episodes and vaccine inequality in the global south, life has been tough for many.

Companies were impelled to shut down or downsize to remain afloat but the intervention was not without dire effects on employees, especially those in the informal sector.

It is within this hopeless state that ingenuity and invention proved critical, according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report. The report succinctly establishes China as a leading hub in a range of intellectual property concentrations.

Intellectual property takes many forms, among them patents, utility designs, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, industrial designs and plant varieties. Ownership of intellectual property rights positions inventors to gain from their creativity.

WIPO collates patent filing activity from national and regional IP offices. It is ensconced through the report that two in every three patent filing activities across the world took place in Asia. Patent filling activity in Europe plummeted in a number of categories. United States Patent and Trademark Office trailed China across reported categories.

Considering that Asia accounted for 66 percent of the world's total patent filing activity, as aforementioned, this was driven by “a strong growth in filings in China, which in 2020 accounted for 68.6 percent of all applications filed in the region.”.

The findings of the report show that Kenya, with 151 resident patents per GDP, is Africa’s finest. However, the country is locked out of the geographical indication (GI) ranking that is provided in the report. GI identifies “a good as originating from a specific geographical area and possessing a given quality, reputation or other characteristic that is essentially attributable to that geographical origin”.

Corporates, universities, schools, vocational institutions, and research institutions should identify and mentor inventors.