By Salifa Karapetyan
Attendees to the ‘Intellectual Property Rights and SMEs’ webinar have learned more about how the registration of Intellectual Property (IP) adds value to their businesses and fosters investment in innovation and development.
Funded by the United States Embassy to Mauritius and Seychelles, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Trade and the Office of the Registrar General, the webinar was held on May 13-14 to mark World Intellectual Property Day 2021 which is celebrated on April 26.
“SMEs have the potential to promote domestic-led growth and strengthen the resilience of Seychelles’ economy. It is therefore important for you to protect your idea, innovation or creation before you bring it to market,” said Judes DeBaere, the U.S. Embassy Chargée d’Affaires.
Seychelles’ finance minister, Naadir Hassan, said that SMEs are being encouraged to register their Intellectual Property, especially now that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is looking to diversify its economy.
“We are working to transform the economy, thus encouraging SMEs to grow their business and even export their products beyond the borders, and that is why these entrepreneurs need to know about the importance of registering their products, ideas and innovations,” said Hassan.
Emily Tedesco, from the US Office of Intellectual Property Rights, said that “in everyday application, IP is important to the public interest in the sense that it keeps you safe, safeguards the economy and help businesses grow.”
“For example, we use intellectual property to verify that the medicines we take are genuine, and as such, it is a system that builds trust and promotes safety,” said Tedesco.
During the two-day virtual training, participants got to learn about the different types of IP protection and the different steps that they can take to register their IP assets in Seychelles.
In the island nation, the Department of Commerce and the Registrar General’s Office are the two entities that have the responsibility to register and manage intellectual properties. This partnership has been going on for three years.
The senior officer at the Office of Registrar General, Samantha Tangalam, explained the uniqueness of each type of IP protection – copyright, trademark, patent, utility model, industrial design, layout design and geographical indication. She also provided information about the duration for which the right can be protected, application fees, and renewal fees where applicable.
“Seychelles is equipped with two main legal frameworks – the Industrial Property Act 2014 and the Copyright Act. It is very important when we assist a client that they provide as much information about what it is that they are trying to protect so that we can advise them under which law they can register their IP,” said Tangalam.
The presentation will later be posted on the US Embassy website for those interested in watching it.