A recent local survey conducted by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), found that “60% of South African universities were not empowered to commercialise their IP through spinoffs, start-ups or incubators”.
However, Dr Elmary Buis, NIPMO’s Deputy Director of the Regulatory and Compliance Department, said that while the survey findings were of concern and indicate that work needs to be done, there had been advancements to unlock the value of IP created by universities, create employment and for benefit sharing. As of 2018, 92% of South African universities had Technology Transfer Offices that specifically dealt with IP and technology transfer. Furthermore, Dr Buis confirmed that over the past 10 years, NIPMO had distributed R142 million (approximately US$10 million) as part of its IP Fund, which offers financial support for the statutory protection and maintenance of IP, including novelty searches, renewals of patents and prosecution costs.
For more information on the developments with NIPMO as well as information on the role of the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act of 2010 (IPR Act), see the article on our website here.