Does Kenya Really Need a National Intellectual Property Policy?

Many will recall that last year, Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) took part in a series of consultative meetings on the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy for Kenya which took place on two separate occasions in the second half of 2012. These meetings were hosted by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and various stakeholders were invited including WIPO, KIPI, KECOBO, ACA, the Attorney General’s Office, KEMRI, MCSK, KAMP, PRISK, KOPIKEN among others.

Recently, this blogger spoke with CIPIT Director Dr. Rutenberg about these meetings and asked him to comment on the on-going developments:

IPKenya: What is your take on these consultative meetings thus far?

Rutenberg: My take is that there are a lot of people in Kenya right now desperate for direction and guidance in IP. But there are also a lot of resources in the country, particularly in the area of people skills and knowledge.

IPKenya: Do you think these consultative meetings will bear any fruit in 2013?

Rutenberg: Yes, I believe so. However, I think a better approach would have been to form an association of IP professionals, and then have the association direct the generation of the IP policy. This is nothing against those who were selected to direct the process – they were (and are) very competent and knowledgeable. But one of the problems is getting the right IP people to join the process. For example, the second meeting had to be canceled and rescheduled (and, ultimately, a different format for the meeting was adopted) because only about 10 people arrived. I think an Association of IP professionals would have been a better first step and then would be able to see through any implementation of the policy.

IPKenya: Does Kenya really need a National Intellectual Property Policy?

Read the rest of this article at the CIPIT Law Blog here.

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