By SuSan BaBijja and Fidele nSengiyumva
An Intellectual Property Right is an exclusive right that derives from someone’s work or intellect.
In other words, it refers to intangible rights protecting the products of human intelligence and creation, such as copyrightable works, patented inventions, trademarks, and trade secrets.
To ensure that the government protects Intellectual Property rights, the Law on protection of Intellectual Property N° 31/2009 of 26/10/2009 and the Intellectual Property Policy of November 2009.
There are two main branches of Intellectual Property in Rwanda; Industrial Property and Copyright. Industrial Property covers Trademarks, Patents, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Layout Designs and integrated circuits, Geographic Indication and Protection against unfair competition.
Copyright, on the other hand relates to literary, artistic, and musical works. These include computer programs, music, films, photographs, arts, sculptures, and national folklore among others. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) an international body which has partnership with Rwanda, intellectual property refers to a product of the mind, of creativity and innovation, in many areas, and which needs to be registered somewhere, licensed and protected as a property. In Rwanda, properties are registered at Rwanda Development Board (RDB). To protect these rights, there must be proof of ownership that requires property owners to register their creations to avoid other people’s duplication and piracy that would otherwise stifle creativity and innovation.
The 2014 World Intellectual Property theme is; “Movies - A global Passion.” The Minister of Trade and Industry Honourable François KANIMBA advises individuals with Intellectual Property to take a keen interest in their registration.
“The Ministry of trade and Industry and its sister institutions continues to make efforts in making the protection and promotion of Intellectual Property Rights in Rwanda a priority. In this vein, I call upon all artists, inventors, researchers and authors to show keen interest in registering and protecting their creations and inventions such they become of more value to them both locally and in international markets,” advises Kanimba.