The Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) has organized a one-day seminar for over 100 students to enhance their understanding of intellectual property (IP) as well as foster creativity among the student populace.
The seminar held at the Paynesville Community Public School last Friday brought together student representatives from 11 schools.
LIPO Acting Director General, Theresa S. Thomas, said that such a seminar was intended to educate students about intellectual piracy, its effects and discourage them from purchasing or downloading any illegal product from the internet.
She added that the Paynesville seminar is the beginning of a nationwide students engagement program, which focuses on three topics, “Piracy, Copyrights and Related-rights and Industrial Property.”
Madam Thomas added that educating students about the importance of IP ensures that they understand how ideas are recognized and protected.
The idea is for students to realize that their understanding of IP related issues is key to the development of Liberia in this fast-growing knowledge based environment, because research has shown that the better the students’ understanding of IP, the greater their chances are to participate in a global economy that is increasingly IP-driven.
“In today’s digitized world, which depends on inventiveness and creativity, it is important that our students are equipped with the knowledge they need to make the Liberia a knowledge-based country to bring about that huge economic growth to take the country out of poverty,” Madam Thomas said.
Thomas added that in the absence of IP knowledge, none of the students will be able to reap the benefits of their creations, thus discouraging them from going forward in exploring their creative abilities.
“We cannot compete in this 21st century, the age of intellectual creation, if our students and teachers lack the basic knowledge of IP,” she said.
One of the greatest benefits of the upcoming nationwide seminar is to encourage students to support legitimate work, and to stop engaging in any forms of piracy, because they too can create their own work,” Madam Thomas said.
Surprise S. Yuan, one of the student participants from the Effort Baptist Church School, described the seminar as a good initiative that will motivate the students to explore their potential.
“As an aspiring author, this seminar has taught us lots of lessons and enhanced our understanding of IP; now with this knowledge, we are going to serve as goodwill ambassadors to educate the general public about the importance of IP, its benefits and challenges ,” Surprise Yuan said.
LIPO is a corporate semi-autonomous agency of the government responsible to formulate good policies that will promote the generation, protection and enforcement of IP materials in the country.