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Intellectual rights under microscope

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Malawi could be losing out on potential development due to lack of clear policies to protect intellectual property.

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) says economic activities could be boosted if Malawi can put in place measures to enhance intellectual property rights.

Aripo is an intergovernmental organisation which promotes cooperation among African states in patent and other intellectual property matters.

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Aripo Director General, Fernando dos Santos, said Malawi needs to do more on policing intellectual rights so that the country can benefit, including from areas such as research.

“Policies are important at all levels. There is need to promote intellectual rights in universities and research institutions as sources of knowledge and information that would effect change in people’s lives,” he said.

Dos Santos said, already there are innovations and creative works that must be safeguarded.

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He said value addition on the existing products and services through scientific knowledge has remained a challenge.

“We need to capitalise on the existing knowledge. If we use intellectual property rightly, we will be able to add value to many things in the country,” he said.

And Attorney General, Kelekeni Kaphale, said the government was already working towards formulation a strategy to safeguard intellectual property at various levels.

He said initiatives are being deployed to provide an enabling environment for the development of a “balanced intellectual property landscape in the country.”

“Intellectual property is a mojor contributor to economic growth and key to economic success. Knowledge and intangibles are becoming increasingly important assets.

“The Malawi Government believes that an intellectual property system should incentivize innovation that will enrich our nation,” he said.

He said already, the system is in the process of adopting an intellectual property policy and is also reviewing intellectual property laws.”

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