Zim needs to simplify intellectual property laws

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Harare(New Ziana)-Zimbabwe should simplify existing frameworks on intellectual property rights to enable inventors to fully appreciate the issues, an official said on Monday.

Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza told journalists ahead of a crucial continental conference on intellectual property that although Zimbabwe had legal frameworks that cater for inventions, it was high time the country simplified them for the understanding of beneficiaries.

“What we also need to do is to raise awareness on those laws that exist. We all know there is a value chain in order for one to benefit from intellectual property.

“For instance if a song by a local artist is also listened to in America, how does the artist get their royalties?”

“These are some of the laws that we are supposed to simplify so that inventors will also appreciate and earn money out of it,” she said.

Recently Zimbabwe acceded to the Beijing Treaty (for audio- visual performances) and the Marrakesh Treaty (to do with print for the visually impaired).

But Mabhiza said some of the existing statutes need to be amended.

“Yes we have a legal framework that caters for our IP systems here in Zimbabwe. Perhaps what we have to look at is on the amendment of some of the existing statutes that govern intellectual property.

“There are so many other Treaties that we have to ratify and domesticate in order to bring ourselves as a country up to standard with modern IP practices,” she said.

Zimbabwe is set to host a continental conference on intellectual property from November 6 to 8.

“Zimbabwe has the privilege to host a conference on intellectual property, innovation and value addition for business competitiveness and sustainable development in Africa for the first time.

“As Zimbabwe, we are looking forward to this conference for it encourages a pro-intellectual property attitude which will help in building IP respect in all spheres of business and research,” she said.

Mabhiza added: “We hope this conference will provide an ideal platform for sharing views and ideas as well as improving the understanding of the importance of intellectual property for sustainable development.”

The conference is organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in collaboration with the Africa Regional Property Organisation (ARIPO).

New Ziana

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