Kenya to Amp up Intellectual Property Learnings for Tech Industry

Intellectual property

Intellectual propertyThis past week the Global Intellectual Property body, World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) approved a proposal by Kenya on enhancing use of IP in the software Sector.

The Intellectual Property (IP) system offers a variety of tools that can be instrumental for commercializing mobile applications, but the optimal mix of tools is context dependent. (Which goes to why lawyers always use the term, it depends!)

Software sector stakeholders often lack information and knowledge on which IP tools are available and how to take advantage of them. Management and awareness of intellectual property in the tech industry is a major concern that is often overlooked until legal wars crop up on who owns the product. We, at Techweez have been proactively trying to increase awareness on all forms of IP and how they are each protected under Kenyan law.

The project that has now been approved seeks to contribute to Kenya’s economic development by enhancing the use of IP in the software sector. Through its activities and deliverables, the project will build software sector stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise on when and how to use various IP tools in support of developing and commercializing mobile applications.

The project will create linkages within the country between Kenya’s IP offices; the Kenya Industrial Property Institute and the Kenya Copyright Board, ICT hubs, research institutions and the industry. The core content to be shared in this project will cover Copyright, patents, utility models trademarks, designs, trade secrets and competition.

One of the project plans intended to be implemented during this time are training modules on several matters including on the role of IP in the development and commercialization of mobile applications (including on accessing third party information and using third party protected subject matter, how IP can be used as a means to raise capital and secure investments), key contracts in the mobile applications sector, including End User License and App Developer Agreements; Mediation and Arbitration in the software sector and a more advanced course for lawyers and government officials).

It is worth noting and highly commendable that this proposal was proposed by Kenya at the 21st session of the CDIP. Also, interesting to note for our Women in tech is that the project coordinators will need to report on the percentage of female participants. The project will commence in January 2019 and will be implemented for the subsequent 36 months.