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KIPI targets schools in expanding intellectual property rights awareness

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John Onyango, KIPI Managing Director. PHOTO | Courtesy

The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) is mulling a collaboration with the education ministry to develop a curriculum that will introduce intellectual property rights education to learners at an early age.

The institute targets to use the country’s education system to increase awareness of intellectual property among potential entrepreneurs and innovators to secure their intellectual property as well as drive the country’s socio-economic development.

“We have realized that you find that in our current system of education, somebody goes through the entire school life without hearing any word touching on intellectual property. There is a weakness somewhere and this is what we want to deal with so that we nurture a culture of creativity and innovation in life so that school children grow up knowing that there is something called IP and you can earn a living from IPt,” said John Onyango, KIPI Chief Executive Officer.

According to the institute, in the financial year 2022/23, the country registered 1,200 patent applications from various fields such as pharmaceutical, agriculture, agribusiness and manufacturing. During the year, there were also 15,000 application for trademarks.

A survey conducted by KIPI revealed that IP awareness index among respondents rose to 55pc from 13.3pc in FY2023/14.

Awareness among businesses was 53pc, learning institutions 71pc, religious and social organizations 59pc, government 76pc and individuals 51pc.

“The initiatives by KIPI are commendable in that they are contributing to the government’s industrialization agenda by facilitating value addition in cottage industries with the goal of increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP from 7.2pc in 2022 to 20pc by 2030,” stated Nobi Macharia. Industrialization Secretary.

Lack of awareness of IP rights among Small and Medium Enterprises as well as startups has also been blamed for limited registrations despite the country beaming with innovations and product development in various sectors

Speaking during the marking of the World IP Day, KIPI Chairman Issack Hassan also highlighted the critical role IP plays in attaining Sustainable Development Goals thus the institute has embarked automation and digitization of its process to make its services readily available to the public.

“Full migration of our services on E-citizen in now on course. This transition to digital platform is not just about keeping abreast with technology, it is also about transforming the way we deliver and therefore how we manage IP in Kenya to ensure faster and more reliable services,” said Hassan.

“These initiatives are part of our broader strategy to support innovators and inventors across the nation by providing them with a tool which they can use to push their productivity and be competitive in the local market and also in the international market,” he added.

Media has emerged as the most preferred source of IP information with 29pc getting the information through online media, 26pc through word of mouth, 23pc for TV, 22pc radio and 15pc from print media.

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