Small and Medium Enterprises must register their trademarks and product designs to be protected from counterfeiting and piracy, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Seth Kwizera, the Intellectual Property expert in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told Business Times, yesterday, that the new intellectual property law is aimed at protecting intellectual rights of traders and manufacturers.
The law highlights the industrial law that deals with trade marks, patent rights, industrial designs, utility models and geographical investments.
“This law will help traders and SMEs to come up with technological innovations and creativity. We are sensitising the traders and manufacturers in SMES to protect and own their trademarks.
We want them to know their rights on their innovations and also increase productivity and fight counterfeiting and piracy,” Kwizera said.
He also expects the law to facilitate agro-processing and manufacturing by enhancing quality and value addition, which will hence boost the country’s exports.
“We want, under this law, to see facilitation of technological transfer from researchers and institutions, which innovate machines to SMEs and manufacturers who use them.” Louise Kanyonga, the Registrar General at Rwandan Development Board, said that the registration of copyrights is free, to encourage more artistes and writers to register and gain from their innovations.
In a related development, the Chief Executive Officer Private Sector Federation, Roger Munyampenda, welcomed the law saying it would support the SMEs to innovate and craft new products.
“I believe people who are innovative will benefit from their protected products; so if one uses it, then this person can benefit directly,” he said.
Munyampenda said that the law would assist in transforming the SMES from the informal to formal sector, in order to compete and market their products, an issue that has been partly hindering private sector growth.