Knowledge Management

Intellectual Property for Innovation

Intellectual Property (IP) plays an important role in innovation. Knowing how and when to protect your invention, design or brand name can save you a lot of time and money.

UNDERSTANDING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind, inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, and literary, and artistic works among others.

IP creates exclusive rights that protect the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations. IP rights are important in the protection and promotion of IP because they encourage creativity and innovation. By protecting your creation, you may gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, enabling you to profit and grow your business.

Learn more about the different types of intangible creations of the human intellect by referring to listed WIPO publications;

  • Patents
  • Trademarks/Service marks
  • Industrial Designs
  • Copyrights and related rights
  • Geographical Indications
  • Unfair competition
  • Confidential information & trade secrets KEY PLAYERS INVOLVED AND THEIR ROLE IN THE IP SYSTEM

1. Ministry of Trade and Industry plays an important role as the lead agency for policy-making and legislative development on IP.

2. Rwanda Development Board (Office of the Registrar General): The Office of the Registrar General has IP department which administers IP on a daily basis. The administration of IP rights covers a number of activities:

  • Registration of applications for IP titles (receiving, examining, publishing and granting or refusing applications);
  • Maintaining records of granted IP rights;
  • Processing of renewals for continuous IP protection;
  • Addressing opposition IP applications;
  • Dispute settlement;
  • Training and public awareness functions, among others.

3. National Police, Customs Department/Rwanda Revenue and Courts of Law (Commercial courts): The three institutions are responsible for enforcement of IP rights. The main objective of acquiring IP protection is to enable an SME or an innovator to reap the fruits of its/his/her creations which resulted in IP rights. Intellectual property assets can only lead to benefits when the acquired intellectual property rights can be enforced, otherwise, infringers and counterfeiters will always take advantage of the absence of effective enforcement mechanisms to benefit from the hard work created. Therefore, enforcement of IP rights is essential in order to:

  • Preserve the legal validity of its IP rights before the relevant public authority.
  • Prevent infringement from occurring or continuing in the marketplace in order to avoid damage including loss of goodwill or reputation.
  • Seek compensation for actual damage, e.g. loss of profit, resulting from any instance of infringement in the marketplace.

NIRDA’S SUPPORT FOR INNOVATORS AND ENTERPRISES

  • Provide Advisory and Technical support on IP related matters
  • Support innovators and entrepreneurs to access IP information using IP databases;
  • Facilitate innovators with regard to requirements and procedure for IP protection;
  • Provide trainings on different IP aspects.