Intellectual Property protection under scrutiny

SHARE   |   Monday, 13 June 2016   |   By Staff Writer

Institutions have been urged to come up with intellectual property policies to guide employees and encourage them to be creative. The call was made by the Director of the Department of Research, Science and Technology Lesego Motoma at the commemoration of the World Intellectual Property Day at Limkokwing University on Thursday. Motoma said intellectual property remains a grey area in Botswana and hard work is needed to educate people about it. She explained that they are currently working with institutions of education to see how the intellectual property could be incorporated into the syllabus for students. “Intellectual Property exists everywhere even in universities hence their involvement in it,” she said.

The World Intellectual Property Day is normally commemorated in April however due to circumstances beyond reach the celebration was postponed to June 9, 2016. Every year Botswana celebrates this day to reflect on the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year the commemoration was held under the theme ’Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined’. The day provides an opportunity to create awareness and greater understanding about the role of intellectual property as a catalyst for development and creation of wealth. It further gives the chance to link everyday lives to existing creations and opportunities to develop more in the changing world environment. The acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Rosina Bontsi concurred with Motoma that the society needs to be sensitised regarding intellectual property. Bontsi added that there is a great need for policies formulation to guide intellectual property in Botswana.

She said in this regard “we will continue engaging stakeholders on the possibility of reviewing laws to accommodate for intellectual property development.” Bontsi explained that intellectual property policies are important as they will enable easy creativity with protected rights for the creators. She pointed out that copyright strategies need to be formulated to help with this. Bontsi said with the evolving technology Batswana should take advantage of this digital technology to be more creative. The attendants looked at how a balanced and flexible intellectual property system can be used to ensure those working in the creative sector and rights owners can properly be remunerated for the use of their work so that they can continue creating. Bontsi urged Batswana to guard against this digital technology as it brings both the good and the bad. “Digital technology will continue to affect the way we do things. The question remains how we handle these developments that have the potential to build or cripple our efforts,” said Bontsi. Most of the music producers at the commemoration argued that with digital technology their products are being shared over the internet without them getting anything.

The commemoration was held in partnership of Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), Department of Research Science and Technology (DRST), Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI).