Microsoft Corporation has unwrapped the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, an online intellectual property portal for software developers to convert their innovation to money.
The US software maker said it is driving the IP protection culture in Africa because a large number of SMEs on the continent rely on secrecy instead of using established copyright, trademark, trade name and patent programmes to protect their valuable innovation, making it vulnerable to exploitation.
The IP Hub will offer developers and independent software vendors the skills and tools necessary to develop, protect and monetise their innovations, Microsoft said. The portal will pilot in Kenya for two years. Similar pilots will subsequently be rolled out to other African countries.
“Most African innovators function on the premise that the idea is theirs until someone else takes it to market, or duplicates it. As Africa’s innovation continues to flourish, the future remains uncertain if these promising ideas are not supported and protected properly,” said Louis Otieno, Director for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft 4Afrika.
“The Microsoft 4Afrika innovation goal is to bring to market and help African startups monetize their innovations and ideas, and allow them to make the right connection with investors. Protecting intellectual property ultimately leads to wealth creation and economic growth, and encourages development of knowledge-based industries. We designed the IP Hub to play a critical role in empowering African innovators and spurring this growth,” Otieno added.