Nairobi: TheEast African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), a semi-autonomous institution of the East African Community (EAC), organized a regional stakeholder workshop to validate the draft report for the EAC regional policy for science technology and innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) from 24th-25th September 2018 at Kenya School Of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, Kenya
The workshop validated the draft East African Regional Intellectual Property Policy that will facilitate the harmonization of intellectual property rights across the region.The workshop also provided a platform to dialogue and network among stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation Community.
Intellectual Property(IP) policy generally seeks to strengthen institutional, national and regional abilities to generate and commercially exploit economically valuable IP assets.The ultimate goal of a sound IP policy is to provide short, medium and long-term plans and guidelines that enable stakeholders effectively work together towards identifying, creating, protecting and commercially exploiting research results,innovations and creative works. IP protection, notably Industrial Property protection also provides a foundation for cooperation between universities,R&D institutions and industry, and promotes the transfer of technologies to productive and creative sectors.
The role of IP in stimulating socio-economic development is globally acknowledged with IP assets contributing significantly to National Gross Development Product (GDP) in developed countries. IP protection promotes innovation and affects commerce throughout the economy by providing incentives to invent. It is noteworthy that once acquired, IP assets spur higher quality research leading to enhanced invention, innovation and creative capabilities; encourage technology transfer,development and adaptation (typically through adaptation of public domain technologies); attract foreign direct investments (FDIs); trigger exploitation of traditional knowledge (TK), traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) and genetic resources.
The EAC IP policy will seek to provide a comprehensive framework for effective IP management, as relates to ensuring IP legislation, regulations, practices and strategies in the EAC region support and facilitate the achievement of Partner States,National Visions and Development Plans, as well as the overarching EAC Vision 2050.The overall objective of the EAC Regional IP Policy is to create a dynamic,vibrant and balanced IP system in EAC partner states. The policy will aim to establish an EAC IP system that can stimulate and drive innovation and creativity.
The participants included representative from EAC Partner States including National Commission/Council for Science and Technology; Ministries responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation; National Departments responsible for Intellectual Property in EAC Partner States; Universities/Academia; National Research Institutions; Private Business and Civil Society sector and Development Partners (UNESCO and UNECA).
The EAC IP Policy development process has been participatory and included national level consultations in all EAC Partner States. Regional Policies were submitted to the EASTECO Governing Board for adoption and approval by the EAC Council of Ministers.