Belete Presentation-26-March-12

Wondwossen Belete
Studies focusing on IP and university research
Study under East African Biotechnology Research and Policy
(BIO-EARN) Program, 2005
IP assessment by Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office in 2006
( a WIPO financed study)
Background study for the Green Paper on Science, Technology
and Innovation Policy of Ethiopia,2009
Plan of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office for
the period 2006-2010 included activities relating to the
preparation of a draft national IP policy and model policy for
Ministry of Science and Technology in 2010 commissioned
experts to prepare a guidelines and model IP policies for
universities and GRIs
these studies and the plan although there is no mention of
foreign policies the kind of IP policy they recommend is a copy
of foreign IP policies specially the Bayh-Dole Act of the US
The policy context:
Science and Technology policy of 1993
Education and training Policy of 1994
Industrial Development Strategy of 2002
Capacity Building strategy,2002
Green paper on Science Technology and innovation Policy
Programs and Initiatives
Addis Ababa University- Ministry of Industry Cooperation
program 1986
AAU Technology Faculty-Industry linkage unit established in
Engineering capacity Building Program launched in 2004
The research environment in universities
Only Addis Ababa University and a handful of universities
engaged in research
Shortage of research finance
Inadequate research facilities
Shortage of qualified researchers
Research disconnected from the needs of industry
University researchers think in terms of original research as
opposed to a policy of adaptive research adopted by the
Absorptive capacity of industry
Weak technological capacity
Shortage of skilled technical manpower
Lack of access to finance
Risk averse behavior of owners of enterprises
which is a barrier to investment in innovation
Limited capacity to absorb externally generated
The level of influence of foreign policies on proposals for IP
policy in Ethiopia is much higher than the expectation of the
University researchers are less willing to respond to
questionnaires or provide information in any other way as
opposed to the strong cooperation of government officials.
There is misconception of the national technological
development objective in the academic circle
The government’s objective of ensuring wider and rapid
dissemination of research results conflicts with its objective of
strengthening the national IP regime.
The policies and strategies of the Ethiopian government
must be rooted in the main development agenda of poverty
eradication. In that respect, intellectual property policy
should be seen from the point of view of its contribution to
the attainment of such a development objective.
If adequate protection and enforcement of IPRs are
genuinely intended to enhance development, policymakers
should seriously consider differentiation of national IPR
regimes in line with the level of economic and
technological development of a country. The “one-size-fitsall” approach can be a recipe for disaster for developing
countries, particularly for least developed countries.
(UNCTAD, Least Developed Countries Report,2007)
For most Ethiopian enterprises working under weak
technological capability and financial constraints university
ownership of IP and licensing will significantly limit their
access to knowledge generated from publicly financed
Increasing university research budget, improving the research
infrastructure, skill upgrading to university researchers better
salary structure and recognition to academic researchers will
significantly improve the research environment in universities
and enhance their interaction with industry. Therefore, before
considering IP policy for university ownership of research
results these measures should be given prior consideration.
The universities should change their research direction and
focus on adaptive research in line with the national technology
development objective of importing and adapting foreign
technologies. It is believed that most of the technologies that
Ethiopia needs now are available in the technologically
advanced countries and what is needed is adapting those
technologies to the local situation.
There is a need to promote dialogue among the main
innovation actors in Ethiopia to build consensus on the kind of
IP regime to promote linkage between universities, GRIs and
There is shortage of professionals knowledgeable in the legal,
economic and technical aspects of intellectual property
Researchers, academicians and industry managers lack/ have
weak understanding about intellectual property protection and
its impact on the interaction between the main innovation actors
in the country
There is a need to create awareness among the general public
on some relevant topics in intellectual property.
Except one semester courses to law students in a few Ethiopian
universities there is lack of specialization programs in the IP
field. There are also no IP courses in the curricula of the different
academic units in the science, engineering and business fields.

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