I have had the privilege to sit and chat with a few Kenyan tech-preneurs, I like to call them technovators, and it came to my attention that they are madly in love with patenting. Perhaps they are just too fascinated with the idea of exclusivity of owning an invention that they fail to see the bigger picture.
Before obtaining a patent, you must be aware of how rigorous it is and how long it takes before a patent is granted. Have you asked yourself why a patent takes almost 2 years before a grant is given? The research that goes into verifying the novelty of the subject matter is quite rigorous. Even the inventor has to have done his own extensive research to ensure what he seeks to patent is novel and new. And, that may be quite the challenge.
In Kenya some of the inventions excluded from patentability include scientific theories and mathematical methods, business models, mere presentation of information or data as well as software and computer programs. This should not be seen as weakness in our regime but a benefit. You can borrow a leaf from a successful inventor or business model. If you are smart about it, brand your product and take a full swing at it. Trademarking accompanied by an ingenious business model will make you successful. Something you can multi-task while you await a patent application or a petty patent application to be granted.
At one of the forums I have been present, a number of tech-preneurs concentrated on how to patent their inventions, mainly mobile apps. I am not sure why the fascination with mobile apps!
“What used to be science fiction is now fact. But what’s next? What is the future beyond the future? What disruptive technology is now just an idea bouncing around a young engineer’s mind? Who will create the next online sensation that gain changes how we talk to each other? What new music will emerge from a garage somewhere to rock the world’s dance floors or unnerve the academy? Who are tomorrow’s great artists and innovators? How are they working; how do they create? And how will they get their creations to market in a world where the game changes, almost daily?” – WIPO
As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Month this April whose theme is- Creativity: The Next Generation. Let us start thinking about the future of the future. Let us move away from solely relying on mobile apps for inventions and creativity. There is so much we can do for our Nation and its residents.
On the WIPO facebook page, I came across a story of a young boy, 13 years of age from Sierra Leone. He is a self-taught engineer, Kelvin Doe. Just by using things he finds thrown away in the garbage he has invented batteries and a generator to provide electricity for his home and his neighbours. I was impressed by this young man.
I want to encourage our technovators to see the simple challenges the nation faces and come up with big inventions. Let us expand our ways of thinking. That is the first big step, after that packaging and the business models adopted will ensure your invention is market ready. Quick and easy, in procedural reference. Always remember to think smart. We do not like the claims of ‘stolen’ ideas. They are heartbreaking.