February 26, 2012 in Meet-ups
A little over a week ago, we had Intellectual Property expert Aleck Ncube come to Harare (he’s based at the National University of Science & Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo) to talk to us about the subject IP, why it’s important for developers and entrepreneurship to understand it, and the opportunities for the Zimbabwean economy on matters of IP.
One of Aleck Ncube’s specialist areas is that of technology transfer so he was able to share the opportunities in the area. of special mention was the need for local innovators to look at technologies that have already been implemented in patent databases and use the concepts to develop local technologies.
The curiosity on the issues of IP was clear at the event. Ncube spent more time answering questions and discussing than the actual presentation. So much he didn’t get enough time to go through the whole presentation in the 2.5 hrs of the event.
Most questions were around the protection patents and copyrights provide. The process of registering patents was also not clear to many attendees and Ncube explained the processes involved at both a national level, regionally as well as internationally.
Ncube also explained the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Regulations of 2006, the Zimbabwe Patents Act. Organisations innovators can approach locally to get more information (and indeed for the purposes of patent registration) are the Zimbabwe Patents Office (ZIPO) in Harare and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) which has its regional head quarters in Harare.
Ncube touched on the issue of Open Source, explaining that with problems getting licensed software, Open Source has presented a unique opportunity for Africa Innovators allowing them to use tools to freely create local solutions. The freedom open source software gives to users to study and modify a program also means local innovators can adapt programs to their local needs.
Something interesting discussed at the event is the Technopark at NUST that Ncube is helping set up. NUST has already produced some innovations over the years and the Technopark is meant to foster and support more innovation at the university.
This Jumpstart event, the second such, was attended by around 50 techies, entrepreneurs, tech leaders, and even a few lawyers curious to interact with tech lot.
Ncube’s presentations are available on request. Please send emails to Ncube himself on aleckncube [at] gmail dot com. There’s so much in there that we cannot exhaust here.