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Evolving Effective IP Systems in Africa

In today’s global knowledge economy, fostering an environment that is conducive for innovation and creativity to flourish is a critical business imperative

In today’s global knowledge economy, the Intellectual Property (IP) system has become an indispensable mechanism for translating know how into commercial assets.

The Intellectual Property system provides the needed framework that guarantees the recognition of and respect for the rights of innovators, inventors and content creators in the products of their intellectual capacities.

It fosters an environment where creativity can flourish, which is a critical imperative for the economic development of the countries of Africa.

IP First was born out of our desire for an Africa, where creativity and innovation can flourish. An Africa that respects intellectual property rights. An Africa, where intellectual property would help drive the required advancements in science and technology, traditional knowledge, arts and culture. An Africa where IP comes first, in our economic development initiatives.

Advocacy | Consultancy | Training

Advocacy

The Leviathan IP challenge in Africa is one that cannot be readily resolved with the occasional advocacy efforts. It requires a permanent advocate, like IP First, with the commitment to relentlessly pursue the objective of evolving effective IP systems across Africa.

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Consulting

IP First provides advisory services to policy makers, administrators, innovators, inventors and all those in the frontline of the world of knowledge creation and commercialisation, in order to help them stay on top of the latest developments in the IP world. IP First for Africa!

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Training

IP First is committed to helping to close the IP knowledge gap Africa. Many innovators and inventors still lack a basic appreciation of what IP is and how they can take advantage of their local IP systems to undertake the perilous task of transforming their ideas into commercial assets.

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Intellectual Property Tips

Tips to protect your intellectual property

Traditionally, there were four broad types of intellectual property. They include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Patents and designs

You can use all four to protect one single invention. A popular example of such an instance is Coca-Cola.

The name “Coca-Cola” is a trademark. The formula of the beverage is a trade secret, while the packaging art is protected by copyright. Finally, the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle is protected by a design patent and a trademark (trade dress).

It is imperative to note that trade Secrets though recognized in some jurisdictions (Nigeria not inclusive) are not protected by law even in those jurisdictions where it is recognized as a form of intellectual property. Protection of a trade secret is usually the responsibility of the owner of the secret.

Other types of intellectual property include; circuit design rights, plant varieties rights, geographical indicators and appellation of origin which is a sub-type of geographical indicators.

The first steps towards transforming your ideas into commercial assets, is to never share your ideas with other people until such ideas have been fully protected.

If you must discuss your idea with someone, be sure to execute a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with them. It is advisable to execute such an agreement with your attorney before you present your ideas to him to process for the necessary protection

 

A single idea may require more than one form of protection. It is always advisable to seek expert advice about the best form of protection for your ideas, to prevent the loss of certain rights in them had they been fully protected.

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