Moreblessing Muresherwa Sithole Correspondent
Throughout the world, a growing number of women are powering change and are involved in different innovation and creativity activities. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has chosen a theme for 2018 World IP Day: “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity”.
The World IP Day is commemorated on April 26 every year the world over and was started by WIPO in 2000 and has a different theme each year.
Powering change is the ability and passion of making a difference in the way of carrying out a task.
Women play a major role in changing things around the world; they come up with game-changing inventions.
Some of them are the rich reservoirs of traditional knowledge that is passed from their mothers. The 2018 theme celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in this world and shaping a common future that is desired.
Every year, thousands of women develop great ideas, create different businesses and market them commercially. Different organisations around the globe have been created to focus on women issues and come up with programmes to support the women. It is important for the women to realise their importance and derive benefits out of these activities.
Artists, inventors, musicians, SMEs and all organisations of all stripes need to join hands and celebrate the contributions that Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) have made in driving limitless human innovation.
Intellectual property surrounds everyone and it is in all things that we use each and every day of our life. According to the WIPO, “Innovation is a human force that knows no limits. It turns problems into progress. It pushes the boundaries of possibility, creating unmatched new capabilities.”
This theme is not just about women. Men play an important role in empowering, mentoring, and supporting women entrepreneurs. Together we are stronger and together we can make progress! So there is need to continue to support each other to work hard and increase innovation and creativity.
Motivating young girls with the inspiration of ‘I CAN’
Young girls around the world need to have an inspiration of “I CAN” so that tomorrow we will have creators and inventors. As this day has come, those who are making it in business should carry with them others so that at the end everyone will be making it around the world.
More emphasis is about the women around the globe, meaning it is a wish to see the women empowered economically, it is a call to greatness.
Economic Importance of IP
Intellectual property should be embraced since its protection helps a country to give the statutory expression to moral and economic rights of the creations, inventions and the rights of the public in access to those creations and inventions. The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of Government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair-trading, which would contribute to economic and social development. Intellectual property law aims at safeguarding creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services by granting them certain time limit rights to control the use made of those productions.
Today, there are more inventions that are being developed than ever before, thanks to adoption of stronger intellectual property regimes that allow innovators to pursue solutions to global challenges. Africa has so much of things that are invented, but most of the inventions are not known because they are not registered. IP rights permit inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs to have their original works secured in the marketplace, incentivising greater investments for greater benefits. Countries with strong IP systems have more full-time researchers, greater investments in R&D, more articles and books published and greater rates of entrepreneurship.
Ways of powering change
Do your homework – study yourself, understand what you are good at, identify yourself; what is the skill you have, what solution can you offer, what can you say to people, what can people pay you for, what is that you can say sit down let me teach you this, re-brand yourself?
As you will be doing this homework, remember in this world, anything you don’t know you pay for it. Do things that you are passionate about.
Run a business – be an entrepreneur – and combine various input factors in an innovative manner to generate value to the customer with the hope that the value will exceed the cost of the input factors, thus generate superior return. Entrepreneurship is the way to go for women who want to power change; salaries cannot or quickly enable you to power change. It is the art of identifying viable business opportunities and mobilising resources to convert those opportunities into a successful enterprise through creativity, innovation, risk taking and deep imagination.
Make use of the social media in a fruitful way – Advertise your business, start with the contacts that you have, don’t join unproductive groups, especially on WhatsApp; make use of your time well.
Seek Intellectual Property Protection – It is important to seek intellectual property protection. Do not disclose your invention details to anyone, including your suppliers or promoters prior to confidentiality agreements. Register your trademark with the national office and seek protection regionally using the ARIPO system. IP strategies that can be used are trademark, patents, utility models, industrial designs, trade secrets and geographical indication. Failure to protect your business will result in some other people benefiting from your business.
Trademarks are used commercially by the business to distinguish goods and services of one business corporation from those of another and this helps both the consumer and the producer. More so, consumers can make better informed decisions and choices in the market. Trademarks are also essential to stimulate and ensure fair competition.
Patents, utility models and industrial designs relate to invention, innovation, technological advancement, designs and industrial processes. Seeking intellectual property protection stimulates invention, innovation and design and at the end enables the right owners to get a reward out of their activities.
Most countries have an IPR regime that facilitates the registration of the intellectual property.
Commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights – After seeking protection, look for the different ways of exploiting your intellectual property rights. Exploitation of the works has potential to generate wealth. There are different modes of exploiting intellectual property rights which includes: Own exploitation, sell of IP rights, licensing and joint venture.
Empower other women – You cannot fly high alone. You need others so that support networks can be created. Share your story and change lives. Be a brother’s keeper.
In conclusion, women can win on innovation and creativity by being dedicated, teachable and seeking guidance on unknown areas. Intellectual property is a powerful tool in powering change by protecting the integrity of a brand and culture. Effective IP systems can facilitate access to finance and the development of markets for technology, both of which help innovative entrepreneurship.
Such systems also provide incentives to invest in R&D and innovation, and can encourage technology co-operation with firms, universities and public research institutes. IP systems also need to adapt and modify intellectual property rights in order to better match it with the characteristics of today’s innovative world.
Moreblessing Muresherwa Sithole is a Financial Engineer and Intellectual Property Scholar. [email protected]