..... Says ARIPO Director General, Bemanya Twebaze
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation Project in Africa (AfrIPI) are hosting a Communication Training on the ARIPO Regional Intellectual Property Rights System from 8 to 10 November 2022 at the ARIPO Secretariat in Harare, Zimbabwe.
This Communication Training on the ARIPO Regional Intellectual Property Rights System will review those rights, including patents, trademarks, copyright and related rights, utility models, industrial designs, geographical indications, plant varieties, and trade secrets, and how to communicate them to the public. The training will also cover the ARIPO protocols and their respective scopes. Moreover, two seasoned trainers in the field of communication from Ghana and Uganda will also share best practices on how to communicate IP effectively.
“In Africa, IP awareness can transform lives by helping reduce poverty, creating employment, and accelerating economic growth,” stated Bemanya Twebaze, Director General of ARIPO. “For this reason, we are intentionally conducting this training to ensure that, ultimately, we are all well-versed with the mandate of ARIPO, as well as the IP system and its potential benefits.”
“As will be demonstrated in this training, IP can be leveraged as a tool to facilitate Africa’s development. This is made possible by providing incentives to inventors and creators and facilitating the disclosure of knowledge and the transfer of technology and know-how,” Twebaze added.
The objective of this training is to build the capacity of the participants to understand intellectual property issues and raise IP awareness among various stakeholders. It will also help promote respect for IP rights and encourage intellectual property protection.
The Communication Training is the first of its kind at ARIPO and the region. It has been positively welcomed by the participants, who feel it is important for communicators to learn the technical side of Intellectual Property (IP) and how to demystify it to the general public. The general public needs to understand the importance and impact of intellectual property in their daily lives.
Additionally, there is a need for government communicators and the media to be equipped to effectively communicate the ARIPO Regional Intellectual Property Rights System and the positive effects of the AfrIPI project to their audiences which can be used for awareness creation at a national, regional, and global level. Many people are unaware and misinformed about Intellectual Property. For example, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the creative sector are losing out on the benefits of intellectual property.
Meanwhile, representatives from ARIPO members and observer States are attending the event. Among others, participants include members of the National IP Offices, Government communicators, and the media from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, The Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“Communication plays a significant role in building respect and awareness of intellectual property rights. Without effective communication, the business sector, including SMEs, innovation hubs, and Research & Development institutions will not readily be aware of intellectual property rights and how these rights can benefit their businesses and sustainably sustain their national economies. At AfrIPI, we are committed to helping the African communication community to make the most of IP promotion,” said Aida Galindo, AfrIPI Project Leader.
“Counterfeit products, which don’t comply with intellectual property rules, can threaten consumers’ health and, in some cases, lives. Serious dangers have been linked to counterfeit products ingested by consumers (food, drink, medicines) or put directly on the skin (cosmetics, fragrances). People in the creative sector, such as artists and designers, are also affected by infringers who claim ownership of their work that is not protected, for instance. Subsequently, intellectual property is a subject that matters to everyone, and it is in your hands, as communicators, to share this message,” added Galindo.