The Minister for Youth and Culture Rosemary Mbabazi is expected to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, ICT, Culture and Youth on Wednesday, September 22, to shed light on what is being done to protect intellectual property.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) defines intellectual property as creations of the mind, such as inventions, literacy and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
In a telephone interview, the President of the Committee Damien Nyabyenda told The New Times that the summons seek information on progress on recommendations made in July 2018.
“There was a general meeting that brought together parliament, governmental parastatals and other stakeholders to discuss intellectual property. We made some recommendations and we would like the Minister to update us on how far the implementation has gone,” he said.
Bruce Melodie performs during a concert last year. Photo: File.
According to a letter addressed to the Minister seen by this publication, the recommendations included a request to set entertainment facilities. Particularly, the commission is interested in knowing what has been done in facilitating Rwandan artistes in producing their content locally.
Minister Mbabazi will also be required to shed light on what strategy is in place to sensitise Rwandans in general but also specifically in schools to educate the youth about the culture of preserving intellectual property.
She will also explain what the government is doing to protect intellectual property, to urge more people to register their intellectual property and the strategies in place to help them reap more from them.
The lawmakers will also seek information on the current status of the 75,000 jobs that were expected to be created between 2017-2024 as per the government’s seven year program.
Request for changes
While the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) currently manages intellectual property registration and regulation is done by different ministries, experts have previously recommended the need to set up a specialised body in the future to coordinate and manage all IP matters.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwandan Society of Authors (RSAU a collective management organisation for artists), Nadine Bwiza, said that setting up an independent body is critical for raising awareness about innovators’ rights and help address their challenges.
“Setting up the institution is a good idea because it can help us to have one contact person to report to in case we want certain issues to be resolved,” she said.
Grégoire Hategekimana, a lawyer and legal consultant with Ishyo Arts Centre in Kigali, said that one specialised body to take care of intellectual property issues will help address the issues of lack of coordination that are currently found in the IP sector.
“The centre can help people work in a more organised way. With that centre in place, people can have one contact person to go to in case they have issues and the centre can help to promote innovators,” he said.
Article 1 of the Rwandan intellectual property law provides categories of people whose intellectual property shall be protected.
These include inventors, innovators, creators of industrial designs, creators of layout designs of integrated circuits, creators of distinctive signs used in trade, authors of literary, artistic and scientific works, performers, phonogram producers and other authors and creators of original intellectual content.Follow https://twitter.com/Africannash