Dr. Kamil Idris thinks that in this age of digital information, the laws that deal with intellectual property can help in harnessing the power without decreasing creativity.
Intellectual property rights apply to many fields including science, literature, art, health, food, trade and economic. When a creator has these rights, he or she can use these ideas as an invention or product. At the global level, the developed countries can then purchase patents from less-developed countries without violating intellectual property rights.
Kamil Idris should know about intellectual property right as he used to be the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, a group based in Geneva.
Idris feels that counterfeiting and the many patents that have not been officially acknowledged have made diluted the power of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), Counterfeiting is also a challenge to IPRs in this digital age.
There is a backlog of patents becoming official because most countries lack the manpower to process the patents in a timely and organized way. This backlog has led to a bottleneck at a global level that is causing countries to be discouraged from getting the patents done.
In the developing world, Idris feels that they are falling behind due to a lack of training and resources. IPRs have helped many countries, but there are still countries that are falling behind. There are large parts of Africa that are certainly not being helped.
The African Center for Technology Studies has done a report about IPRs in Africa and has found that about 2 percent of patent applications are from Africa. Most come from North America and Europe. One of the reasons for low patent applications is a lack of access to digital resources. Idris feels that this will lead will to foreign companies to benefit financially from local skills without the local economy getting any benefit from their employment.
As a Sudanese national, Kamil Idris should understand the situation in Africa and will continue to advise people about IPRS, using his experience from heading a group that dealt with IPRs.