Liberian Universities, Research Centers Urged to Develop IP Policy

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The Director-General for the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), Fernando dos Santos, has appealed to administrators of universities, research centers and colleges across the country to develop an internal Intellectual Property (IP) policy if they want their students and professors to compete in the Information Age.

Mr. dos Santos explained that an institutional IP policy is a formal document which deals with the ownership of and right to use an IP, guidelines on the sharing of profits from successful exploitation as well as mechanisms to ensure respect for third-party IP rights—and procedures for identification, evaluation, protection and management of IP.

His statements came after representatives of universities and research centers attended a two-day IP roving seminar for academic and research institutions, held at the conference room of the University of Liberia (UL). Mr. dos Santos added that in the absence of IP policy, universities and research centers in Liberia will find it difficult to become the cornerstone of innovation and creativity for students and professors, making it difficult for them to have their great ideas flourish, which will hinder their ability to fully compete in this knowledge-based world.

“This situation will cause them not to generate the huge economic and societal benefit an IP policy brings. However, with an effective IP policy, these universities and research institutions will be creating an environment that supports and encourages innovation, development and many more.

“Also, an IP policy helps professors’ and students’ ideas to flourish and help them invest more time into making new discoveries since they know that they will receive incentives because of the IP policy already in place. Secondly, the universities and research centers will flourish as well because they will be able to make money through licensing their discoveries made — a situation which will strengthen the local economy by having a highly educated labor force and a strong innovation sector,” he said. “Such an endeavor will make the universities more appealing to smart students, scientists, and professors, and increase prestige since more discoveries will be made.”

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is an inter-governmental organization (IGO) that facilitates cooperation among member states in intellectual property matters, with the objective of pooling financial and human resources and seeking technological advancement for economic, social, technological, scientific and industrial development.

ARIPO was mainly established to pool the resources of its member countries in industrial property matters together, in order to avoid duplication of financial and human resources.

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