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SubjectIntellectual Property
Date of Publication2017068
PublisherAfrican Community of Practice on Management for Development result at the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
Number of Pages13 pages
Geographical CoverageKenya
KeywordsPatents and Economic Transformation - Kenya, Intellectual property protection in Kenya, Patents
AbstractThe success of the Bayh–Dole Act in the United States in 1980 on intellectual property (IP)—which provides for small businesses, non-profit organizations, and universities, to retain title to inventions made under federally funded research programs—inspired many countries in Africa. This case study examines Kenya’s experience. The Kenyan government adopted a Bayh-Dole Act equivalent in 1998 but that achieved little success in patenting, because government funding was too small to sustain research results, and management structures and policies on IP ownership were unclear. More recently, however, with the reinforcement of the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI), which in 2012 became a competitive and reputable research body, patenting activities sharply increased. KIRDI employed IP experts to use IP as a tool to encourage commercialization based on protection, IP ownership, and the use of patent information. It also put the right IP structures in place. Key findings: The use of patent information and innovation in universities and research and development (R&D) improved after KIRDI’s mandate was strengthened. KIRDI puts the government on track to realize Vision 2030, which aims at creating employment, generating wealth, and securing mid-level industrialization. Key lessons: Empowering public research institutes or universities to make African countries competitive in R&D and to conduct applied research useful to the economy is essential for catalyzing research, commercializing IP inventions, and shifting these inventions to productive use. Main recommendations: African countries should ensure enough R&D funding for universities and allow them to collaborate with private enterprises and with foreign research institutes or companies. African states and regional bodies such as the African Capacity Building Foundation and the African Union should build up human resources to produce and retain competent, skilled staff from multiple fields, to include engineers, scientists, economists, marketers, and researchers with IP knowledge and who can tie research to patent information. They should also help researchers and private enterprises access inventions and find joint-venture partners, and help them file patents.
Copyright HolderAfrican Community of Practice (AfCoP)
Copyright URL
Filesize679341 MB
File FormatPDF
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