Rwanda hosts Intellectual Property Week event

Senior Lecturer of Medicine and Pharmacy at University of Rwanda Emile Bienvenu at a past meeting on Intellectual Property in Kigali on June 24. Craish Bahizi.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), have organised an Intellectual Property Week in Rwanda that is scheduled to run from June 24-28, 2019.

It is the fifth time it is taking place in Africa after Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Liberia. It will act as a benchmark or yardstick for the other countries on the continent.

Intellectual properties can be defined as those intangible assets that are a result of creation such as ideas, trademarks and logos among others

The weeklong meeting will focus on research and development in institutions of higher learning such as universities and IPRCs within the country.  That will be tackled in the first two days. The third and fourth day will put emphasis on highlighting the relevancy of Intellectual Property awareness in increasing the competitiveness of Small and Medium Entreprises (SME’S).

 According to Richard Kayibanda, Registrar General at the Rwanda Development Board, there is need for all people with intellectual property in the country to always have it registered with Rwanda Development Board. He says that intellectual property is one asset that is really profitable but many people are ignorant about it and that is why the Board decided to create awareness about it.

He added that there was a law that protects intellectual property that was gazetted in 2019 though it is under review and it provides for protection and sanctions in case of infringement.

Kayibanda says that, under Intellectual Property, there are two main categories; copy and related rights that cover artistic works, songs, literature, broadcasting rights. There is also industrial property, eg; logos, industrial designs.

He cautioned individuals in the creative arts industry as well as innovators or researchers to always register their ideas or works quickly as failure to do so can easily allow fraudsters access their idea or information and register it first which would give them full ownership of the innovation.

Dr Emile Bienvenu, Chairman of the Rwanda Standards Board of Directors and Director of Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said there was need for the country to have an Intellectual Property Policy.