The Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) joins the rest of the world to mark the World Intellectual Property (IP) Day under the global theme: “Innovation – Improving Lives”.
Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images. Intellectual Property rights provide protection for creations and inventions, to enable creators and inventors to earn recognition and financial benefit from their work. Also, IP rights enable owners to select who may access and use their property and to protect it from unauthorised use (exclusive rights, monopoly).
Creative ideas and expressions of the human mind that have commercial value ought to receive legal protection of a property right. The major legal mechanism for protecting intellectual property rights are copyright, patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications, traditional knowledge and folklore, plant varieties among others.
The world IP day is also marked very year due to its role in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year, we are exploring how innovation is transforming society and it can challenge into opportunities. Therefore, the IP system should be in a position to advance innovation through rewarding of innovators and creators so that their new information and knowledge and freely available for future knowledge generation.
It is worth noting that technology has enabled innovators to market their works across the globe. But then, the same technology has made enforcement of their rights very difficult as their works can be freely accessed by anyone without being paid for.
According to the 2016 IP statistics for Uganda, 16 applications for patents have been received, 86 copyrights have been registered and 3,106 trademarks registered as well.
Nevertheless, Uganda has made many positive strides in her IP Administration and Management. There is currently a draft national IP policy. Also, IP rights have been incorporated in Uganda’s laws such as The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (the right of every person to own property – Article 26); The Trademarks Act No. 17 (2010); The Industrial Property Act (2014); The Geographical Indications Act (2013); The Trade Secrets Protection Act (2009); The Copyrights and Neighbouring Right Regulations, S.I No. 1 (2010); The Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act (2006); The Patents Act (2002); and The United Kingdom Designs (Protection) Act Cap 218. UNCST in collaboration with other stakeholders, including Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda Management Institute, Uganda Manufacturers Association, SIPI Law Firm etc is involved in various IP-related initiatives aimed at creating IP awareness to the public.
UNCST acknowledges and appreciates the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation in transforming Uganda’s economy into a knowledge – based economy. Also, UNCST encourages all Ugandans to appreciate and understand their IP regime and how it can be beneficial to them going forward. There is also need to encourage IP generation, but more emphasis should be directed towards IP protection.
UNCST wishes all Ugandans successful World Intellectual Property Day 2017 Celebrations.