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Intellectual Property Conference To Benefit Young Innovators

The Ministry of Information, Communications Technology, and National Guidance, in collaboration with the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU), will on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, host the Intellectual Property (IP) Conference.

 

The IP Conference, which will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kampala, is anticipated to provide innovators with comprehensive knowledge about intellectual property rights and their significance in innovation.

It will also provide a much-needed platform for them to showcase their innovations and seek support on related intellectual property rights assessment, registration, and commercialization.

Shirley Gladys Nakyejwe, the Intellectual Property Management Specialist at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, said the IP conference particularly seeks to close the ownership and commercialization gap that young female innovators encounter while trying to transform their innovations into marketable products.

“The IP Conference aims to give innovators a platform, resources, and opportunities to succeed in their commercialization journey,” said Ms. Nakyejwe, adding: “It encourages inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs to push boundaries and take risks. Given the gender gap in STEM innovation, Female innovators, inventors, and authors often miss out on the benefits and protections of Intellectual Property.”

The one-day conference, “Harnessing IP in the Digital Era to Advance Gender Equality,” will directly contribute to achieving SDG 5 by promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through innovation and creativity.

Ms. Nakyejwe explained that the conference, whose entrance is free, will facilitate dialogue for innovators and inventors to engage with experts, stakeholders, and potential collaborators, fostering a supportive ecosystem for female STEM innovators.

Available statistics indicate that the intellectual property gender gap in Uganda poses a formidable challenge. This is underscored by the stark reality that only 16 percent of patent applications originate from women, particularly within the STEM fields.

Mr. Gideon Nkurunungi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ICT Association of Uganda who is co-hosting the conference said the IP conference is a new era in innovation for Uganda.

“Charting the Path for Innovation: Our nation is on the brink of an extraordinary transformation. Innovation is the engine of this change, and it requires a solid framework to thrive. Today, we commit to forging this framework together, creating a fertile ground where creativity blooms and inventions take root. Uganda’s climb up the global IP rankings starts with our actions here, molding an ecosystem that not only fosters innovation but accelerates it,” said Mr. Nkurunungi.

He added: “ To merely follow global trends is to forever chase the shadows of greater nations. Instead, we must leap ahead, becoming the architects of the future rather than its inheritors. We must stretch our imaginations beyond the conventional, to pioneer the unprecedented. At ICTAU, we challenge every tech professional here to think forward, think bigger—and engage in crafting patents that pave the way for tomorrow’s breakthroughs. This conference is your canvas; your ideas, the colors with which we will paint a brighter future.”

 

According to a UNESCO report, bias, stereotypes, limited resources, and unequal opportunities create formidable obstacles for young women in Uganda pursuing careers in STEM, hindering their full participation and contribution to innovation.

The IP conference, which will be held during World IP Week, is expected to increase awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the benefits of IP rights management for female innovators.

The organizer said that innovators will gain a deeper understanding of intellectual property rights and how to use them to their advantage.

During the event, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance will unveil the much sought-after Intellectual Property Toolkit that is expected to provide innovators with tangible resources to navigate the complexities of IP protection and management, further supporting their innovation journey.

The conference will bring together young female innovators, inventors, and authors from across the country to interact and share their IP-related experiences with key stakeholders in the Intellectual Property industry, including Ministries of ICT & NG, Secretariat of STI—OP, URSB IP Office, IP Advocates, and Women already in STEM.

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