Last month, ARIPO held the third Intellectual Property Roving Seminar at the International University of Management (IUM) in Windhoek, Namibia. The Seminar which took place between June 19 to 20, 2018, was themed “Fostering Creativity and Innovation for the Economic Growth and Development in Africa.”
The target audience for the Seminar were Academic and Research Institutions in Namibia. The event was organized by ARIPO and the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), in collaboration with IUM.
In his opening remarks during the event, ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos, stated that only 12 patents have been filed so far by a University in Namibia. “This is the reason behind the organization of this seminar in Namibia, which is intended to enhance Intellectual Property awareness in Academic and Research Institutions with a view to promoting the creation, protection, and utilization of research results using intellectual property tools,” he stated.
ARIPO reports that the Seminar was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Mr. Gabriel Sinimbo who made the keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Hon. Tjekero Tweya.
Mr. Sinimbo stated that despite the expectation that IP is supposed to encourage and reward the innovation drivers in a country, if IP is not promoted and there is no political will, such expectations would fall flat. He noted that Namibia recently gazetted the Regulations of the Industrial Property Act, Act 1 of 2012 which is expected to take effect in August 2018. This will assure compatibility of Namibia laws to the regional and international legal framework.
Namibia, through BIPA which is the National IP office, is also working on a new Copyrights Bill which is awaiting the second reading from the stakeholders. This Bill aims to expand the scope of copyright protection and to provide a stronger framework to fight piracy while creating a more conducive environment for investment in the digital industry.
It was noted during the Seminar that between 2016 to 2017, a total of 3038 applications for trade marks were filed in Namibia. Of that number, a total of 924 were registered. Copyright applications were 204 of which 190 were accepted. The country received 64 applications for patents and industrial designs of which 37 were registered and granted. It was pointed out that the above figures exclude designations received through the Banjul Protocol and Madrid system for trademarks, as well as designations through PCT & Harare and Hague & Harare for Patents.
It was further highlighted that through the ARIPO system, at least 5217 patents, 794 industrial designs and 41 utility models from all over the World are enjoying protection in Namibia. Through the Banjul Protocol for the protection of marks 1087 marks are protected in the country.
Other topics discussed during the Seminar focused on innovation and investment in research and development (R&D). In her welcoming remarks, the BIPA Acting CEO, Mrs. Selma Ambunda stated that more researchers and students are routinely consulting BIPA for advice on IP issues before publishing their research results.