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`Hadithi`, concert `inventions` lined up for patenting

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Gangi Longa, Feb 15, 2010.

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    Gangi Longa Senior Member

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    Feb 15, 2010
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    15th February 10
    `Hadithi`, concert `inventions` lined up for patenting

    Michael Haonga

    The Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) chief executive officer ESTERIANO MAHINGILA recently talked to The Guardian Correspondent MICHAEL HAONGA, whereby he gave highlights on the role of the agency, protection of new aspects of intellectual property (includes traditional knowledge, genetic resources and expressions of folklore (hadithi and concerts). The latter areas are still being debated regionally and globally through African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and World Intellectual Organization (WIPO) respectively. Excerpts:
    Q: What achievements have you made over the years, and what have been the challenges?
    A: This is a very interesting question. Intellectual property is a field which deals with intangible assets of human inventiveness and creation. A solution to any technical problem could be one example of pieces of literary and artistic work. In my response to your second question: I said that BRELA also administers Trade Marks and Patent registries. In fact these two registries could be collectively referred to as industrial property. The implication of registering a trade mark or service mark is recognised as a created symbol which could either be a number, letter, logo, emblem used in commerce to distinguish similar products or services of different manufacturers or service providers in the market.
    The purpose is to protect the registered trade and/or service mark to give exclusive rights to an owner of the relevant mark. A patent is also granted to an inventor or innovator of a technology when the inventor or innovator of that technology has the necessary statutory patentable criteria; all these are just some aspects of the function of protection. So you can see BRELA’s relevance in this particular field. Probably it may not be out of place to inform you that generally, intellectual property in its conventional sense is a set of two subsets—industrial property and copyright.
    There is, however, a third area which could be referred to as the emerging new aspect of intellectual property—this includes traditional knowledge, genetic resources and expressions of folklore. This area is still under debate both regionally and globally through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the World Intellectual propert Organization (WIPO) respectively.
    Q: How has BRELA fared so far?
    A: Regionally, Tanzania is one of the founder members of ARIPO and a member of the two protocols administered by the organisation, namely the Harare Protocol on Patents and the Banjul Protocol on Trade Marks. Globally, Tanzania accedes to the Paris Convention on Industrial Property, and Berne Convention on Copy Rights, the Parents Cooperation Treaty and the Nice Agreement on the Classification of Marks. She is also an active member of the World Trade Organisation.
    Q: Recently Tanzania hosted a two-day WIPO and BRELA workshop on enhancing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) competitiveness for development. What transpired as the way forward to realising envisaged goals?
    A: The seminar agreed that Intellectual property (IP) had a very significant role to play in enhancing SMEs competitiveness not only in agribusiness, but also in the business arena. Therefore, it was agreed that an exercise to map up the existing IP assets be undertaken in besides coming up with a strategy to stimulate potential assets to be formulated through partnerships with all stakeholders. To that effect, the seminar selected a team from among the participants to come up with an implementation strategy in three-month time.
    Q: Kindly remind us on the role of your agency.
    A: The establishment of BRELA was one of the successful endeavours of the government, in my view, to review its service delivery to its citizens. The reform process was part of phase one of the Public Service Reform Programme. One of the outcomes of that process was the formation of executive agencies, discrete and semi autonomous institutions to carry out some executive functions of the government. It was in this basis that BRELA was established.
    Q: How does BRELA execute its functions?
    A: BRELA is basically an administrative support framework that facilitates the administration of four legal registries, namely the Registry of Companies, Business names, Trade and Service Marks and Patents. Each of these registries has an independent act of parliament.
    The Companies Act No. 12 of 2002, the Business Act Cap 213 of the Laws of Tanzania, the Trade and Service Marks Act No. 12 of 1986 and the Patents Act No. 1 of 1987. The agency is also responsible for the administration of industrial licensing under the National Industries (Licensing and Registration) Act as amended by Act 9 of 1983. It is also poised to administer the Main Registry of the Business Activities Registration Process under the Business Activities Registration Act.
    Q: What message do you have to inventors and innovators on patents?
    A: First it should be clearly understood that a patent is a right granted by government to an inventor or innovator of technology. The inventor or innovator if they need to have legal protection against illegal use of their invention or innovation is required to apply for a patent. For anything to be patentable it has also to be industrially applicable. Any technical information which is not novel is not patentable.
    And, an inventor is anyone who comes up with a technical solution to a technical problem and an innovator is a person who adds an inventive step to an existing invention. It should be made clear here that any patent is granted by the national patent office as there are no global or regional patents. There are however, extensions of patents through, say a cooperation treaty (PCT) of states under the administration of WIPO.
    I wish to call upon all Tanzanian inventors and innovators to do whatever is possible to patent their inventions and innovations before publishing them, lest they lose novelty. It is heartening that presently there are only 33 items that have been patented in Tanzania.
    It should be underlined here that any patent that has not been protected in a given territory or region is in public domain as far as that particular territory or region is concerned. More information with regard to this can be accessed through the Tanzania Intellectual Property Advisory Services and Information Centre (TPSC).


    THE GUARDIAN
    http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/functions/print_article.php?l=13548
     
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