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THE African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) says building long-term strategic partnerships between businesses is critical in maximising the creation and transfer of knowledge.

The organisation’s patent examiner, Mr John Omiti, told a virtual conference of Young CEOs Business Forum on Friday that companies need to collaborate and work together for enhanced capacity development.

“Focus should be on building long-term strategic partnerships that help each other to be successful.

“This in turn builds trust and mutual respect, maximise the creation and transfer of knowledge because as Aripo we believe this may lead to win-win collaborations that might see your companies growing and exceedingly producing good results,”

said Mr Omiti.

He noted that companies with long-strategic partnerships can easily get benefits such as favoured vendor status, access to critical Government resources, accreditation, learning science and teaching as well as technology balance on science and engineering.

Mr Omiti said companies should adopt the technology transfer from academia to industry for radical and incremental innovation, determination of technical and business feasibility and creation of intellectual assets.

“Transfer of technology for society’s use and benefit results in maximising public good or maximising financial return,”

he said.

“Also, it assists to generate income, net return on investment, regional economic development and job creation.”

If the model is successfully implemented, it can develop relationships with industry and facilitate formation of new start-ups or spin-out firms, said Mr Omiti.

“One thing I can note is that effective technology transfer is the toughest single challenge faced after the contract is signed as there are steps that need to be taken.”

He outlined some of the key steps such as conducting a customer value chain analysis, capturing the voice of the customer, establishing engineering metrics and using the “LEGOTM model” concept for packaging technology to fit new design and analysis system.

BMatanga IP Attorneys head of practice and lead counsel, Ms Brenda Matanga, concurred saying companies should identify patents, trademarks, industrial designs, utility models, copyright, trade secrets and domain names, which they should protect and manage.

“Evaluate your core assets and decide, which type of IP you need. And the assumption that IP is complex and expensive is not so true considering the current prices, which can go as low as ZWL$2 700 for domestic registration,”

she said.

Ms Matanga also noted that corporate espionage such as bribing an employee of a competing company to disclose the competitor’s secret client list and unauthorised use of trademarks or confusingly similar trademarks were some of the challenges.

She advised export-oriented firms to consider making sure that their IP is protected in all potential export markets and complies with the IP laws in the relevant markets.

“IP violation can cost a business tremendously, eat into your profits and even destroy a business. Be warned, the capitalist jungle is brutal, it has no respect for anyone with just an idea but no capital to turn that idea into a product/ service or the means to protect,”

added Ms Matanga.

The Young CEOs Business Forum ran under the theme,

“Rethinking Entrepreneurship in a fast-changing world: New Approaches, Fresh Opportunities,”

and was hosted by the CEO Africa Roundtable, a high-level platform for corporate chief executive officers and senior executives in both private and public sector.

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