CA alarmed at intellectual property theft against young innovators

May 17, 2016
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Director General Francis Wangusi says a lot of upcoming innovators are being exploited especially by multinational companies who masquerade as investors here to help, but end up eloping with the ideas to make money/FILE
Director General Francis Wangusi says a lot of upcoming innovators are being exploited especially by multinational companies who masquerade as investors here to help, but end up eloping with the ideas to make money/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17- The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has expressed concern over increased intellectual property abuse against young ICT innovators.

Director General Francis Wangusi says a lot of upcoming innovators are being exploited especially by multinational companies who masquerade as investors here to help, but end up eloping with the ideas to make money.

Wangusi says CA has started a campaign so far in seven counties which entails educating innovators on how to register their products before even sharing their ideas with any potential investor or friends.

“Intellectual property rights abuse is arising. Most of these multinationals who happen to talk to our innovators, attract them into partnerships that actually don’t work, especially after realising they have not registered their work,” Wangusi said.

He said if the issue is not addressed, the trend remains a challenge to the growth of the local ICT sector adding that a lot of ideas have been developed in Kenya but are now being used in other countries.

He lamented that great innovators have also been discouraged especially when they helplessly continue to watch as others enjoy the fruits of their work yet they don’t have any supporting evidence to take legal action.

“Recognising this being a problem that would probably stagnate the rate of innovations in this country, we decided to raise the matter at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) forum, and we agreed that it is a matter of international importance and Kenya is going to be picked up as one of the test beds by ITU in a study on how to protect innovators,” he said.

Talking to young innovators, Wangusi said it is crucial that all ideas and products should be registered at the Kenya Copyright Board at the initial stage, whether they will later work or not.

He was speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2016.

WTISD is celebrated annually on May 17, to mark the founding of ITU in 1969 and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.

The day is also marked to raise awareness on the possibilities that information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies.

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