Study Says Most SMEs In Rwanda Don’t Protect Their Innovation And Intellectual Property

Most companies in Rwanda are exposed to potential theift of their innovations and intellectual properties, according to a study by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

RDB presented the findings on Friday from a study that was carried out to analyze the rate of innovation in the production process of SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) and the status of protection of different intellectual property (IP) assets.

The Study on Technology and Intellectual Property Registration Status in Selected SMEs was presented to representatives from companies assessed in the study as well as participants from governmental institutions that included the Ministry of Health, Ministry of ICT, National Industrial Research and Development Agency, National Agricultural Export Development Board, Rwanda Standards Board, Rwanda National Police, University of Rwandan, Rwanda Polytechnics -IPRCs, Rwanda Agricultural Board and Rwanda Revenue Authority.

The findings showed that in most SMEs, the production process is either manual or semi-automated and yet other alternative technologies could be used to be enable full automation

In regards to IP, the study identified a considerable number of IP assets such as trademarks, industrial designs, and utility models, were not protected in the companies assessed.

Speaking while presenting the findings, RDB’s Chief Strategy & Compliance Officer, Louise Kanyonga said that the overall objective of the study was to identify the trends and gaps in technology use by the SMEs and their IP assets registration status.

“We researched on the companies from different sectors such as agro-processing, manufacturing, construction and ICT so as to be able to design appropriate intervention actions to boost their productivity,” she said.

The assessment was meant to explore potential IP assets the companies may protect, assist them to protect their IP assets and provide them with patent information from patent databases and technological literature that would contribute to the improvement and optimization of their productivity.

She added that, there is need for continued awareness activities and synergy with public institutions in order to increase IP knowledge and use among SMEs and the general public.

Article 23 of the law on patenting, for example, provides that, filing the application for any patent shall be made with the empowered authority. The application shall contain: 1° a request for the grant of a patent; 2° a description of the invention; 3° one or more claims of novelty in the invention; 4° one or more drawings where necessary; 5° an abstract.

The filing of the application shall be subject to payment of the prescribed fee. The applicant may, until such time as it is observed that the application meets the requirements for the grant of the patent, withdraw the application at any time during its pendency.

Where the application has been withdrawn, a subsequent application can be filed in respect of the same invention.

Such subsequent application shall be regarded as the first application in respect of that invention. No priority rights shall be claimed on the withdrawn application.

A full law can be accessed here below


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Author: Staff Writer

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