7.2 Learning outcomes for the IP training module On completion of the module participants will be - Aware of the concept of IP and how it applies to TRC research - Able to evaluate opportunities for exploiting research results - Able to identify challenges and tensions associated with IP value capture 7.3 Why Is It Important To Know About Intellectual Property Research is about creating intellectual property. It is important that scientists and
76 researchers are aware of intellectual property exploitation, what the benefits and challenges are and whether and how to access such rights. Researchers need to know about IP exploitation at the start of their career. It is likely that researchers will come under increasing pressure to generate financial returns from their work, such as from the licensing of a patent. It is important to know what the benefits can be off IP exploitation whether and how to access such rights, and capture value, particularly for TRC, at the outset of the creative process IP is not just about scientific creations. Branding can create powerful and economically valuable IP. Knowledge is the major factor of production in the st century. We operate in a Knowledge economy. Access to knowledge is at the centre of the Intellectual Property system. A functioning and supportive IPR regime is important for development and to encourage both foreign and domestic investment for the overall benefit of a country. Modern economic life is based around knowledge and intellectual property but many developing countries economies are still based around natural resource exploitation and the production and sale of commodities. In the global corporate world intangible IP assets are now far more important than physical assets. Until the mid-1980s the assets of the top global companies tended to be equally divided between physical assets (buildings, land, processing plant, equipment) and intellectual property (patents, brands etc. By 2000, intangible assets accounted for US for every US of a corporation’s market value and the average value of IP rights is about 2/3rds of the value of all intangible assets. In 1982, 62% of the market value of the top 500 companies attributable to their tangible assets. By
77 1998 only 15% of their assets were tangible while 85% were intangible. Their intangible assets included patents, trade secrets, trademarks and brands. Intellectual property is not a preserve of the rich or of rich countries. IP can be created or owned by anyone but problems exist in registration in many countries Most patent applications made in Africa Caribbean and Pacific states are by nonresidents i.e. foreign multinational companies protecting their IPR in their target market. According to Kenyan scientist and IP expert Tom Ogada 9 , the low numbers of patents filed in African countries compared to other countries should not be interpreted as an indication of low levels of innovation and pioneering research and engineering activities. There is quite a lot of innovation being undertaken by African scientists and engineers in RD institutions and universities. Most of these innovations go unnoticed because of lack of IP awareness. This is changing as the following quote indicates Technology is the only way for Africa to get rich ... We don’t have a proper infrastructure and we can’t compete in manufacturing ... But if you put me behind a PC and tell me to write software fora Chinese customer, than I can compete brain for brain with anyone trying to do the same thing in the US. Herbert Chinnery-Hesse, founder of Ghana’s SOFTtribe company ( www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1631_judges/page5.shtml ) In fact no country is poor in intellectual capital but many ACP states lack the institutional framework to take advantage of their intellectual resources. Most patent applications made in ACP states are by nonresidents (e.g. by foreign companies 9 WIPO Magazine, Issue 5 2006
78 protecting their IPR in their target market) such as MNC pharmaceutical companies protecting their IP in their target markets. In 2009, 156,000 patents were registered with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), of which 425 originated from African countries of these 93% were from South Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa contributed 0.28% to registered world intellectual property. In 2009, 156,000 patents were registered with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), of which only a small percentage originated from ACP countries (see Table 1 below.