SA needs to encourage more local patents – Davies

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JOHANNESBURG, April 10 – South Africa’s government is striving to strike a balance between granting monopoly rights to support innovation, the dissemination of knowledge and addressing the country’s socio-economic challenges, trade and industry minister Rob Davies says.

Davies told a forum on intellectual property and technology commercialisation, hosted in collaboration with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, that there was a need to encourage greater use of the patent system by local innovators, with more than 95 percent of patents currently registered in South Africa being foreign.

“South Africa has inventions coming from research institutions, universities and individuals, and the issue is then how do these inventions find their way into products,” he said.

“The computerised ticketing system, automatic hosepipe swimming pool cleaning device and many more are South African innovation and not many of them ended up as products that are manufactured in South Africa, and South Africa does not benefit appropriately from its innovation.”

“This tells us that the journey of innovation which is the most difficult part is turning of inventions into commercial products and in this regard, in South Africa, we have had many more failures than successes. This is the issue we need to confront,” said Davies.

He said the department of trade and industry was developing a programme which would include an incentive grant and provide assistance and a supportive environment for innovators to find partners, thus ensuring their ideas were developed and commercialised in South Africa.

“For us to be able to industrialise, we have to be continuously raising competitiveness which is something that innovation is a very integral part of,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA)