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Microsoft launches intellectual property portal, the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub 2014.06.28

Nairobi, Kenya - June 26, 2014 - On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. unveiled an online intellectual property (IP) portal called the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, in an effort to create an IP protection culture in Africa. The IP Hub will offer developers and independent software vendors the skills and tools necessary to develop, protect and monetize their innovations. The portal will pilot in Kenya for two years, after which it will be handed over to the local government with similar pilots being rolled out to other African countries.

The 4Africa Advisory Council
Front row: Benjamin Mophatlane; Florence Iwegbue; Mteto Nyati; H.E. Benjamin Mkapa; Juliana Rotich; Marieme Jamme.
Back row: Fernando de Sousa; Ali Faramawy; Monica Musonda; Louis Otieno.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 

Nairobi, Kenya — June 26, 2014

Microsoft launches intellectual property portal, the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, to promote, protect and monetize innovation in Africa


• IP Hub will streamline, digitize process of IP protection

On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. unveiled an online intellectual property (IP) portal called the Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, in an effort to create an IP protection culture in Africa.

4Afrika Logo
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
The IP Hub will offer developers and independent software vendors the skills and tools necessary to develop, protect and monetize their innovations.

The portal will pilot in Kenya for two years, after which it will be handed over to the local government with similar pilots being rolled out to other African countries.

The Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub will provide an online portal with the tools and resources needed to help developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) develop, protect, and monetize their innovations, in an effort to create an IP protection culture in Africa.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
Most small businesses in Africa are relying on secrecy instead of using established copyright, trademark, trade name and patent programs to protect their valuable IP, making it vulnerable to exploitation.

At the same time, worthy innovations miss out on the opportunity to be realized for the African continent, stifling its technology advancement and development of the knowledge economy.

Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub is therefore meant to enable Developers to monetize their software applications.
This is in line with 4Afrika’s overarching objectives of Innovation, Access and Skills nurturing and development in the various projects it undertakes in Africa.
The challenge that 4Afrika intends to overcome through the IP Hub is to provide these Developers with the necessary support to create innovative solutions that they can commercialise.
This would not only benefit the Developers themselves, but would also produce software solutions that are useful and created in context, that is, with Africa and the African society in mind.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), only 383 resident patent applications were filed in Kenya through the Patent Cooperation Treaty procedure or with the national patent office between 2009 and 2012.

Similarly, only 683 resident patent applications were filed in Egypt; 608 in South Africa; and a mere 53 resident patent applications were filed by resident inventors in the Ivory Coast.

In contrast, approximately 268,000 resident patents were filed in the United States during the same period.

Real Impact for a Better Africa.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
“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 4Afrika Youth Device Program will provide high-quality and affordable devices, learning material and training to learning institutions.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
Innovators must have proof of ownership to be able to market or sell their innovation.

Many do not know this, and for those that do, the process of filing IP protection can be long, manual and intimidating.


Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative
By 2016, the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) online, up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs.
Courtesy of Microsoft / Greg Von Doersten/Mawingu
 
The IP Hub will streamline and digitize the process, while educating young innovators about the importance of IP protection, and assisting them to enforce their ownership against third parties.

At the semiannual 4Afrika meeting in Abidjan, Microsoft announced the first four youth members to the 4Afrika Advisory Council to ensure Africa’s large youth demographic is represented.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
As John Waibochi, CEO of Kenya’s Virtual City Group, a local innovator, said
,
“IP protection has played an important role in the foundation and growth of our business. From when it was just in the idea stage, we registered it through our IP lawyers with the relevant authorities. This has allowed us to grow to where we are today, and ensures that our technology remains in the hands of Africans, for Africa and the world.”

Huawei 4Afrika
Designed specifically as an affordable option for students, small businesses, developers, and first-time smartphone owners, the Huawei 4Afrika is not only affordable, but stylish.
Available exclusively for the African market, the Huawei 4Afrika phone features a customized Store Within the Windows Phone Store with top African applications and exclusive content by Africans for Africans.
The Huawei 4Afrika comes in an array of bold colors including blue, red, black and white.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
“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,”
Louis Otieno said.
“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.”

Huawei 4Afrika
Designed specifically as an affordable option for students, small businesses, developers, and first-time smartphone owners, the Huawei 4Afrika is not only affordable, but stylish.
Available exclusively for the African market, the Huawei 4Afrika phone features a customized Store Within the Windows Phone Store with top African applications and exclusive content by Africans for Africans.
The Huawei 4Afrika comes in an array of bold colors including blue, red, black and white.
Courtesy of Microsoft
 
To learn more about the IP Hub and sign up for membership, users can go to
http://www.iphub.co.ke  

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


Source: Microsoft Corp. News Center

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/  



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Editor-in-Chief of ASTROMAN magazine: Roman Wojtala, PhD.


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