Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Intellectual Property - Development Catalyst

The 10th edition of the World Intellectual Property Rights Day is being observed today under the theme, "Innovation: Linking the World".

Cameroon today joins the international community in observing the 10th World Intellectual Property Rights Day and the 40th anniversary of the entry into law of the convention instituting World Intellectual Rights Organisation.

Placed under the theme "Innovation: Linking the World", Cameroon will, as a member of the World Intellectual Property Rights Organisation, carry out sensitisation campaigns on the need for inventors and innovators to register their works and own patent rights so as to protect their intellectual property. According to a press statement from the department of intellectual property of the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Technological Development, the promotion of intellectual property assist small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, inventors and innovators to develop their activities to effectively contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. Against a backdrop of persistent importation, falsification and the less competitiveness of local enterprises, the release further states that upholding intellectual property will not only permit inventors and innovators to reap maximum fruits of their labour, but would equally woo others into creativity and dissuade impostors from counterfeiting which has stifled ingenuity and almost brought the countries economy to its knees. Statistics from the Ministry indicate that 90 per cent of the goods in the country's markets are counterfeit and that enterprises are losing billions to the malpractice as well as freezing thousands of jobs given that their products no longer sell as impostors quickly give them out at down-to-earth prices to vulnerable consumers.

According to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Rights Organisation, Francis Gurry, in a message on the day, rapid innovation and its global adoption has transformed the world. "We are now linked - physically, intellectually, socially and culturally - in ways that were impossible to imagine. We can cross continents in a few hours. From almost anywhere on the planet, we can access information, see and speak to each other, select music, and take and send photographs, using a device small enough to fit in the palm of a hand". He stressed that the contribution of this change to development is enormous. "Web-based learning frees intellectual potential in previously isolated communities, helping to reduce the knowledge gap between nations. Sophisticated video-conferencing techniques reduce business travel, diminishing our carbon footprint. Mobile telephony, already used by over half the world's population, transforms lives and communities: Solar powered mobiles are helping track disease, run small businesses, and coordinate disaster relief in areas previously out of reach".

The greatest challenge here is to bring inventors and innovators to a level where they can willingly register their works for it's only when they have exclusive rights of a product that they can undertake a legal action against impostors who usually capitalise on the naivety of inventors to feed fat on their ingenuity while they languish in misery.

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