CSIR launches intellectual property policy

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
• Dr Kwaku Afriyie (right), Minister of MESTI, presenting copies of the intellectual property policy document to representatives of the institutions under the CSIR

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched an Intellectual Property policy to protect and promote the development and distribution of new technologies and services in the country.

The policy document which was developed with assistance from the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Ghana Intellectual Property Organisation will guide researchers and enable them to generate income from the commercialisation of their work.

Speaking at the launch in Accra last Monday, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, said considering the total annual budget for CSIR, no matter how huge it was, a private sector player would have generated the full operational budget with the type of technologies developed by the council and it’s unique services offered.

“CSIR is blessed and endowed with expertise, enabling environment and varied forms of technologies, products and innovations and in my estimation what is left has to do with how to milk the technological cow to mobilise more resources.

“Currently, the pointers are very good and this is our time to take the bull by the horn and lead the way to prosperity using the frontiers and transforming power of science and technology,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the policy document would spur researchers and technologists to be more innovative and come out with innovative technologies and marketable products for the benefit of both the inventor/ innovator and the CSIR.

Generating revenue

The Director General of the CSIR, Prof. Paul P. Bosu, said the policy formed part of efforts to guide researchers’ rights to develop technologies and innovations in the country.

He said his outfit was determined to increase the commercialisation of its technologies and innovations to generate more revenue which could help in covering about 30 per cent of its research and development operation costs.

“If a company protects its products or processes with intellectual property rights, it can derive revenues not only from direct marketing but also from licensing the intellectual property rights to third parties,” he said.

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the CSIR, Prof. Robert Kingsford-Adaboh, explained that CSIR had developed a lot of technologies which had been profiled, catalogued and published for the information of the private sector, the public and as reference material.

“It is, therefore, gratifying that this IP policy has now been developed and published for the benefit of both the innovator and CSIR.

He said intellectual property rights were widely used to promote culture such as in the creative arts industry through the publishing of music and films where copyrights allowed authors, performers, producers and other creators to receive economic rewards for their creativity.

That, he said, went a long way to enrich cultural heritage, enhance cultural diversity and benefit society at large,” he added.

”Dissemination of technical information is another important aspect of intellectual property rights. This is where our interest is centred on.

“It is estimated that about 80 per cent of current technological knowledge and information can be found in patent documents,” Prof. Kingsford-Adaboh said.