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Sep 13, 2019

Young Scientists Kenya: Strathmore Team’s involvement in the National Science & Technology Exhibition 2019

A few of the students who attended the YSK exhibition with the aim of safeguarding the young innovators' intellectual property rights. From left; Jane Pamba, Faith Njeri, Aisha Ochwada and Waya Ndegwa

In the words of the Chairman of the Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) board, Dr Kevit Desai, ‘Investing in science and technology is paramount to economic development, specifically the achievement of the big four agenda. The YSK initiative targets Kenya’s greatest resource – youth – and helps them to achieve their potential as future innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs.’ In the effort to make these wise words a reality, YSK partnered with 17 organizations including Strathmore University’s own; Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT).

Intellectual property protection

CIPIT prides itself in working closely with inventors and creatives to advise and aid in obtaining intellectual property (IP) protection over their works at both local and international levels. For this reason, a number of students from the Strathmore Law School and the Strathmore Faculty of Information Technology came together under the leadership of Dr. John Olukuru and Mr Andrew Ngurumi and formed a dream team comprising of Faith Njeri, Aisha Ochwada, Waya Ndegwa, Jane Pamba, Tarquinn Kimutai, Peter Opiyo, John Rarui and Anthony Nderitu.

The team had the opportunity to take part in the National Science and Exhibitions held at KICC. Not only did the team visit the exhibition in their capacity as students but also as judges to assess the projects and determine whether the young innovators had IP rights based on the nature of their projects. They are currently working on how they may aid these innovators to protect these rights. This is key in ensuring that 3rd parties cannot commercialize on their projects without their consent.

Free patent registration 

There were a total 234 projects at the exhibitions, and after careful deliberation, 23 projects topped the list in various categories. The overall winners were students from Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj School with their project on a Universal Health Care System. The winners were awarded, among other prizes, a full scholarship at Strathmore University to pursue any course they may choose. While addressing participants during the official opening of the exhibition, His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta, directed the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to ensure that the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) offers patent registration free of charge to all viable innovations developed and displayed at the event. The directive extended to ensure all innovations developed and displayed during exhibition are granted a direct waiver of trademark fees beginning 2018.

The dream team has since proposed to organize and host some of the young innovators at Strathmore University for a boot camp so as to  further establish their projects. The boot camp will be held for the top 50 projects in the exhibition and it aims to advise and guide the students on how to protect their inventions as well as identify the rights of various stakeholders in their respective projects.

 

This article was written by Aisha Ochwada.

If you have a story, kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu

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