World IP Day 2011: “Designing the Future.”

Exactly ten years ago, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) created the “World Intellectual Property Day” as an event intended to “raise awareness of the role of intellectual property in our daily lives, and to celebrate the contribution made by innovators and artists to the development of societies across the globe”.

Coincidentally, 2001 is also the magical year Kenya’s existing Copyright Act came into force.

But I digress.

The theme for this year’s World IP day to be held on April 26th 2011 is “Designing the Future” which on the surface seems to appeal more to the other organisation dealing with IPR, namely KIPI since it deals with industrial designs and utility models.

However, WIPO D-G Mr. Gurry’s description of “design” shows us that it shouldn’t be confined to just “industrial design”. He says, in part:

“Design touches every aspect of human creativity. It shapes the things we appreciate from traditional crafts to consumer electronics; from buildings and bicycles to fashion and furniture. Design has been called “intelligence made visible”. Design marries the practical with the pleasing. It brings style to innovation.”

Therefore, KECOBO intends to partner with it’s IP counter-part KIPI as well as other stakeholders in Kenya to hold activities, events and campaigns to raise awareness of intellectual property issues as a whole as well as show how they affect our everyday lives.

In this connection, I believe that KECOBO should also sensitise members of the public on the services it offers, particularly registration of designs as artistic works for the purposes of Act. Registration with KECOBO must be demystified so as not to appear to be an expensive, laborious maze of paperwork and bureaucracy but as a convenient and useful way of protecting one’s unique designs in order to build a bigger and brighter future for themselves and the country as a whole.

Anyways, as World IP Day draws nearer, WIPO has been kind enough to come up with suggested activities to help us mark this important day.

I look forward to seeing what our two intellectual property offices KECOBO and KIPI come up with to celebrate this important occasion.

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