In a bid to boost business competitiveness and innovation, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), has hosted an Industrial Design Workshop aimed at Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The importance of Intellectual Property (IP) as a vital tool for businesses and urged SMEs to protect their innovations and designs was emphasized.
Deputy Registrar General of URSB, Alex Anganya, highlighted the critical role that Intellectual Property plays in fostering business competitiveness.
It provides a framework for protecting and incentivizing innovation and creativity, enabling them to protect their innovations, differentiate themselves in the market, access funding, and compete effectively on a global scale. It plays a central role in fostering innovation, which is a key driver of long-term competitiveness in today’s business landscape.
Intellectual Property encompasses legal rights granted to investors to safeguard their innovations, making it a cornerstone of business sustainability. As the content economy continues to thrive and provide livelihoods for many, businesses are urged to take action in protecting their rights to industrial designs and intellectual property.
Anganya noted that the Ugandan government has a comprehensive policy framework in place to safeguard these rights, citing the National IP Policy of 2019 and the National Development Plan (NDP III) programs as integral components of this strategy.
NDP III: Strengthening the Intellectual Property Value Chain
Michael Wabugho also emphasized that the activities at the Industrial Design Workshop are in line with the goals of NDP III. The overarching strategy of the plan aims to formalize Uganda’s economy by strengthening the legal and industrial framework to promote competitiveness, simplifying business registration processes, and enhancing research and advisory services.
However, while SMEs express a strong interest in registering their businesses and trademarks, they face obstacles such as high costs and lengthy procedures. Trademark registration, currently a three-step process, demands a total of 300,000/- shillings, a hurdle that many SMEs find daunting.
According to URSB, the low turnout in registration can partly be attributed to a lack of awareness, with fewer than 50 SMEs having registered their intellectual property to date.