Ugandan researchers and innovators have been advised to always properly register their ideas, research products and services for patent rights to protect their rights from potential perpetuators.
Dr. Patrick Mugisha, the Ass. Commissioner Department of Innovation and Property Management at the Ministry of Science and technology said Uganda is still ranking poorly on the global innovation index and Intellectual Property (IP) management mainly because they lack awareness about the subject.
“You could take 15 years trying to innovate a product and once it is done, another person will copy the same product, alter a few things and register it as their own product or idea. That is why, researchers, innovators and producers have to take IP management seriously because it determines how much you will gain from your product financially,” he said
This was at the official opening of 3day International Conference on Technology and Management that started Monday 7th to 9th September at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI)’s Machining Manufacturing Industrial Skilling Development Centre located in the Kampala Industrial Park Namanve.
It was organised by the Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) under theme is “Towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0/4IR) Advancement & Solutions: Trends, Issues, Best Practices, Benefits & Challenges for Management & Governance in Africa” with the aim of bringing forth a relevant subject that has generated global debate and reflection in Africa regarding ‘cyber-physical systems’ being integrated into society.
Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Executive Director UIRI Dr Dick M Kamugasha emphasised the need for government to create more awareness about the urgency of intellectual property and save Ugandans researchers and innovators from being taken advantage of by the so called funders.
“We have to always look at a bigger picture. Sometimes someone offers you a grant to do research under a condition that you will avail all your research to them. In the end, the research is used to create marketable products but the researcher is never paid royalties because they did not file their research for intellectual property rights,” he said
He further added it was important for Uganda to quickly adopt to the 4th industrial revolution and artificial intelligence if it is going to move at the same pace like the rest of the world.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to us that it’s only those that have embraced technology that will survive the changing times. It is important for businesses, learning institutions to use this as a learning process so that the future finds when we are prepared,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor UTAMU Prof. Sadiq Yusuf said protection of researchers and innovators is sometimes hard because there is lack of funding for their ideas and often are at the mercy of the funders who also have demands.
The virtual conference was attended by hundreds of government officials, academia, researchers, students and civil society online