Innovation Minister Musenero Advises SMEs to protect their creations through Intellectual Property Registration

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L-R_ Mercy K. Kainobwisho, Registrar General URSB, H.E FUKUZAWA Hidemoto, Ambassador of Japan to Uganda & Dr. Monica Musenero,Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation share a light moment during the conference

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that apply for trademarks, copyright and patent protection are more likely to experience high growth than SMEs that do not, according to Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero.

The Minister said this while delivering her opening remarks during the national workshop on intellectual property (IP) for small and medium enterprises in Kampala. The two-day conference was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with support of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) targeted policymakers, heads of IP offices, IP experts, SME owners and entrepreneurs.

The overall objective of the conference is to highlight the role of intellectual property as a policy tool for economic development, general IP awareness, value of IP for SMEs growth, Institutional IP policies and their implementation, technology transfer and appropriate technology.

“Intellectual property (IP) is your business tool to stand out from the crowd. It allows entrepreneurs like you to protect your innovations, enhance your creativity and investment in know-how and quality of your products” Hon. Musenero told participants.

The 2022 SME Scoreboard shows that nearly all (93 %) SMEs with registered IP rights experienced a positive impact, on their business. SMEs cited improved reputation or image of the company (60 %), better IP protection (58 %), and better long-term business prospects (48 %) due to registering their IP rights. Mercy K. Kainobwisho, URSB’s Registrar General said SMEs for whom IP is an integral part of their business are more likely to become high growth firms.

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“IP rights are key economic assets in todays’ knowledge economy. That’s why SMEs need to build an IP strategy in the early stages of their development”. Kainobwisho said.

Ambassador FUKUZAWA Hidemoto, Ambassador of Japan to Uganda said IP is an indicator of good management of company.

” IP rights are essential for creating competitiveness for SMEs, and ultimately Africa’s sustainable growth” the Ambassador added Emmanuel Rugomboka, Counsellor, Division of Africa, WIPO added that IP and intangible assets will help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) navigate an innovation-driven business model that will support their sustainability.

Other discussions held to guide SME owners and entrepreneurs included hot topics such key highlights of Uganda’s National Intellectual Property Policy,2019, enhancing business competitiveness, trademarks, industrial designs and trade secrets as business tools, collective marketing, geographical indications, certification and collective marks, innovation management by SMEs and the importance of IP audits as well as leveraging technological innovation in the marketplace through patents and utility models.

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