So we are developing ideas that have no IPs (intellectual Property) licences in Africa, mainly here in Uganda. I have seen a number of get ideas but they have no patents thus someone else can do the same thing around the world and our poor Ugandan developers will lose out on that money and fame.
It is so painful to have your idea stolen from you, you will never get known, no one will know how long you died and rose again in your movie until you got it right.
So with that in mind, Microsoft launched an an online intellectual property (IP) called the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub that aims to create protection for IP culture in Africa. The IP hub is to offer developers and independent software vendors the skills and tools necessary to develop, protect and monetise their innovations. The pilot of the portal is to happen in Kenya for two years after which it will be handed over to the local government as other pilots are being launched around Africa.
This gives everyone the chance to patent whatever idea thier come up with even if it will not work or already working.
According to Louis Otieno, director for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft 4Afrika in a new report,
“Most African innovators function on the premise that the idea is theirs until someone else takes it to market, or duplicates it. As Africa’s innovation continues to flourish, the future remains uncertain if these promising ideas are not supported and protected properly.”
This mean we need our Ugandan ideas protected from poachers and make our ideas known that they were birthed and nurtured in Uganda. We need to be up there, we have too much potential to make this happen.
Innovators must have proof of ownership to be able to market or sell their innovation. Many do not know this, and for those that do, the process of filing IP protection can be long, manual and intimidating. The IP Hub will streamline and digitize the process, while educating young innovators about the importance of IP protection, and assisting them to enforce their ownership against third parties.
Most African innovations are relying on secrecy instead of establishing copyrights, trademark and trade name plus patent programs to protect their valuable IPs and making them vulnerable to exploitation. This is making worthy innovations miss out on opportunities that are to be realised on the continent stifling its technology advancement and development of the knowledge economy.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), only 383 resident patent applications were filed in Kenya through the Patent Cooperation Treaty procedure or with the national patent office between 2009 and 2012. Similarly, only 683 resident patent applications were filed in Egypt; 608 in South Africa; and a mere 53 resident patent applications were filed by resident inventors in the Ivory Coast. In contrast, approximately 268,000 resident patents were filed in the United States during the same period and none were from Uganda.
This is so embarrassing our neighbours are protecting their ideas and we are sleeping…. wake up wise people, we are developing and innovating on borrowed time if we dont patent our ideas.
“The Microsoft 4Afrika innovation goal is to bring to market and help African startups monetize their innovations and ideas, and allow them to make the right connection with investors,” Otieno said. “Protecting intellectual property ultimately leads to wealth creation and economic growth, and encourages development of knowledge-based industries. We designed the IP Hub to play a critical role in empowering African innovators and spurring this growth.”
To learn more about the IP Hub and sign up for membership, users can go to http://www.iphub.co.ke.