The year 2017 has indeed been very eventful for Uganda in as far as Intellectual Property, at the Internal scene, is concerned. But What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Intellectual Property denotes ownership of creations of the mind that include musical works, literary works, inventions and innovations, designs and symbols etc. used in commerce. IP is protected under laws such as Copyright, Patents, Trademarks etc. The two major sub-divisions of IP ate Copyright and Industrial Property.
Basically protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is meant to incentivize creativity by rewarding creators through enforcing their rights. If you took copyright (and music as the case study), you will appreciate that the object of enforcing the rights of an author is to enable him/her to commercialise his/her creation. Today music as a business is more profitable than ever before with numerous streams of income that can be exploited by the rights’ holders.
But the purpose of this discourse is not really about what IP is all about nor what the benefits of enforcing IPRs are. Rather, how far Uganda has come on the International arena.
In October 2017, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, Registrar General of Uganda Registration Services Bureau was elected President of the Paris Union Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) during 57th General Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the time of his election, URSB had just concluded the validation exercise of the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy (a landmark achievement), which will support efforts towards achieving the objectives of Uganda Vision 2040; the Second National Development Plan; and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through enhancing creativity and innovations. UPRS fully and actively participated in the drafting and validation of the Policy Document.
URSB has also put in place outreach activities with the purpose of strengthening enforcement of IPRs and empowering rights holders to commercialise their creations.
Artistes participating in the World Intellectual Property Day Activities (2017)
Earlier in the year (in Harare, Zimbabwe), Ms. Lilian Nantume Mubiru, Licensing Manager, Uganda Performing Right Society was put on the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)/ARIPO Africa Regional Strategic Plan Drafting Committee. The Committee has since completed its work and the Strategic Plan approved by the CISAC Regional General Assembly that sat in Kigali Rwanda early this year.
Ms. Lilian Nantume Mubiru (Licensing Manager) with Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) at UPRS offices – Kamwokya.
Mr. James Wasula (CEO) attending Shonubi, Musoke & Co. Advocates’ 30th anniversary in legal practice. UPRS congratulates them and wishes them many happy returns.
In July 2017, your scribe was unanimously elected to the CISAC Africa Regional Executive Committee during the Regional General Assembly held in Kigali Rwanda.
James Wasula (Left), CEO – Uganda Performing Right Society during the CISAC General Assembly in Kigali
In October 2017 WIPO selected Ms. Lilian Nantume Mubiru to participate in the International Seminar on IP Education for the Youth, which will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from December 5 to 7, 2017.
Ms. Lilian Nantume Mubiru attending WIPO training in London this year.
These elections and appointments of eminent personalities in the realms of IP at International levels are not accidental. Through URSB, Uganda has made strides in actualizing the potential of Intellectual Property to revolutionalise our economy and job creation through innovations and creativity. We at UPRS have taken IP further by training our staff at different levels to ensure professional delivery of our services to our members.