Robust and effective intellectual property systems are needed to promote innovation and develop industries in Africa. They not only help local inventors and companies to come up with new inventions and products, but also encourage foreign companies to invest in the region. Accordingly, IP systems are one of the foundations needed to drive sustainable economic development on the continent. This was the view of Mr. Kenichi Kasahara, Deputy Head of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in Zimbabwe, in launching the first in a series of Patent Drafting Courses in Africa.
The week-long course was held at the headquarters of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Japanese Patent Office.
The WIPO Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 report suggests that while financial investment, legal frameworks and institutional infrastructure create a supportive environment for innovation, human capital is fundamental in determining the success of innovation. “The patent drafting course thus addresses this important aspect of human capital in aiming to improve patent literacy and related special skills,” said Ms. Aida Dolotbaeva, Legal Officer in Patent Law Division at WIPO. “Patent Drafting skills are one of the important competencies to aid an increase in the use of national and international patents systems, since filling a patent application is the very first step for the active use of the patent systems.”
Adams & Adams Partner and Patent Attorney, James Davies, joined a prestigious line-up of course lecturers which included WIPO’s Aida Dolotbaeva, James Snaith from Kilburn & Strode London, and Masaharu Kizu from SOEI Patent & Law Firm in Tokyo. Davies, as well as sitting on various panel discussions, also delivered three lectures relating to patent claim drafting and design, including an introduction to the theory of patent claims, drafting description in relation to claims, and dependent claims.
“The proficiency of these participants, be they researchers, inventors or legal advisers, is of great consequence to our business and to the IP teams within our Adams & Adams Africa Network, and so we were eager to get involved in the course. The whole programme seemed to be well received by those who attended, and we look forward to being involved again,” added Davies.
Recently, Adams & Adams was the first southern African Intellectual Property Law Firm to join the international Inventor Assistance Program. The Inventor Assistance Program (IAP), a WIPO initiative in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, is the first global programme of its kind. It matches developing country inventors and small businesses with limited financial means with patent attorneys, who provide pro bono legal assistance to secure patent protection.