Symposium on Intellectual Property education underway

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By Fatoumata Joof

A national symposium on Intellectual Property (IP) education began Monday at the UTG conference hall in Kanifing.
The three-day event is being organised by the Ministry of Justice, Industrial Property Office, and The World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) in collaboration with the University of The Gambia, UTG. It will end today.
The vice chancellor of the UTG, Professor Faqir Muhammed Anjum, called the event timely given the position IP has assumed in contemporary legal discourse in particular and education in general.

“Every scientific innovation or discovery, engineering design, artistic work, musical rendition, books etc by man has an intellectual property element. It assures unto the intellectual property owner maximum material and emotional benefits from his/her innovation of discovery, design, work, music, book etc as the generality of humanity also benefits from such. However, this assurance is only possible where there is adequate legal framework that protects a person’s rights to his or her intellectual property in his or her work, as well as adequate information or education as to the existence of such rights,” he said.

He said any country that has an effective policy or protective mechanism for IP thrives economically.
He said: “It is in this regard that the UTG recognises the importance of Intellectual Property by offering the course as a module in our Bachelors of Laws (LLB) degree programme.”
Ms Martha Chikowore, counsellor and Wipo representative, explained that Wipo is the global forum for intellectual property policy information and cooperation.

“Wipo assists individual countries and regions to use IP for economic development. Wipo delivers extensive capacity building, education and training programmes that aim to help countries develop skills in institutional capacity.
“We are confident that this symposium, led by the government of the Gambia and UTG, would meet its objective and lead to the enhancement of IP education at the UTG,“ she said.

National Centre for Arts and Culture, NCAC’s Hassoum Ceesay, said IP education is one of the key mandates of the Centre as per Copyright Act 2004. He said the event is therefore directly supporting the work of the Copyright office of the NCAC.
“I believe this gathering will by Wednesday, be able to kick start domino effect in that all institutions where knowledge is generated and consumed will end up having an IP policy or an IP guideline. This should be our target so that each school, college or university research institute has a clear-cut IP policy or guidelines to protect and to engender more knowledge creation,” he said.