Rhodes celebrates innovative women on Intellectual Property DayDate Released: Tue, 8 May 2018 14:21 +0200
To commemorate this year’s World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April, Rhodes University’s Technology Transfer Office hosted a presentation to define the roles of Intellectual Property and honour women in innovation.
Presented by Rhodes Technology Transfer Manager, Suzanne Wolhuter, the lecture had an all-woman panel. According to Wolhuter, the reason for this is that “women have had less time to be recognised for being innovative”.
The panel included women from different backgrounds in innovation like Professor Janice Limson, Director of the Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and Siphokazi Mathe and Blessings Chinganga, founders of the student-run Slow Sunday Market. During the talk, different aspects of intellectual property were discussed, such as the difference between patents and trade secrets and the pros and cons of each. According to Wolhuter, a patent gives an inventor exclusive rights to an invention for 20 years in South Africa, which helps avert reverse engineering. On the other hand, a trade secret lasts for time immemorial, but the idea is only protected against illicit leaks and unlawful sharing, and not in the case of someone else coming up with the same idea independently.
Intellectual property is an important concept that all academics and inventors should be cognisant of, especially in today’s digital world where ideas are easily and quickly shared over the internet with very little done to track their origins.
In closing, Wolhuter handed out pamphlets explaining the legal aspects of intellectual property to attendees, courtesy of the presentation sponsors, Spoor & Fisher attorneys.