WIPO Workshop: African States Are Themselves To Blame, Should Compile, Publicize IP Statistics 10/10/2016 by Hillary Muheebwa for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Each year, the World Intellectual Property Organization Economic and Statistics Division sends out questionnaires, which intellectual property offices worldwide are expected to complete and return. But because the survey is voluntary, many African countries, including some Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) member states, do not respond to the questionnaires. Workshop group photo According to WIPO, only 25 out of the 54 African countries have been consistently availing their data to the international body. ARIPO is comprised of 19 member states. Mosahid Khan, head of the IP Statistics Section at WIPO, revealed that in many instances, IP offices are not aware of the importance of IP data. Reliable IP statistics are an important tool in understanding trends in policy, business, and technology worldwide. To increase awareness, WIPO held a Sub-Regional Workshop on the Development and Effective Use of Intellectual Property Statistics for ARIPO Member States in Harare, Zimbabwe late last month. The workshop was organised by WIPO and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in cooperation with the Government of Zimbabwe and ARIPO. The workshop, according to Khan, aimed to build statistical capacity within IP offices, and also called on African IP offices to value the importance of IP statistics reporting. “One of the aims of the WIPO workshop was to raise awareness of the importance of reliable IP statistics and how those statistics can help offices make evidence-based decisions,” he said. During the workshop, it was resolved that had all African states been providing their statistical data to international and regional bodies, the gloomy picture of Africa’s contribution to global intellectual property transactions would be significantly different. Fernando dos Santos, director general of ARIPO, while addressing the participants, added that Africa has but itself to blame for the sad picture that is portrayed globally, and urged member states to realize that statistics also help them in forecasting, planning and monitoring their IP activities. In an email exchange, Khan added that “many African IP offices store information in paper format, making it difficult and resource intensive to extract statistical information.” IP offices do not always have the necessary statistics skills for developing and maintaining statistical databases. A lack of resources at IP offices hampers their statistical activities. However, IP offices are migrating to electronic format and WIPO is helping them to migrate from paper to electronic format through its Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS). This will make it easier for offices to extract statistics in the near future. Uganda is one of the ARIPO member states that provide IP statistics to WIPO every year. According to Kagwa John Marius, patent examiner at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, “URSB uses IPAS, an IP administration system that automates processing of trademarks, patents and industrial designs.” “IPAS is used to generate IP statistics with exception of copyright. The generated statistics depend on the information requested. These are then stored in a shared drive so that other officials can refer to them as and when desired. Manual registers are maintained as a requirement of the law for applications and registrations of copyright, trademarks and patents. Manual registers are also used in providing information and statistics,” said Marius. According to Ruhima Mbaraga Blaise, division manager, IP, Office of the Registrar General of Rwanda, the country has different types of reporting which include the electronic publication of IP every month. The report or data are generated by IPAS and published in Rwanda Development Board website. “The IPAS system has different fields of reporting, but the system is under construction and not yet finished,” Blaise said. The annual report submitted to WIPO is stored in electronic format. Guest of Honor Virginia Mabhiza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Zimbabwe, opening the workshop WIPO does not provide any incentives to offices to complete the questionnaire, but the benefits should encourage offices to share their data. First of all, according to Khan, offices will benefit from having high quality data. For example, offices will be able to use the data for their budgetary and planning purposes. High quality data will allow offices to forecast future demand for IP rights and future revenue, enabling them to plan better and improve the efficiency of their offices. Data availability will allow offices to devise policy based on empirical evidence rather than on anecdotal information. A country is able to use the available data to monitor its IP activity and compare its performance against other countries. Furthermore, WIPO’s IP data are used by many agencies for various products,such as WIPO’s Global Innovation Index, and the World Bank’s World Development Indicators. IP data availability will provide an accurate picture of member countries’ IP activity. The statistics indicate the country’s global rank for each indicator. The statistics also associate IP activity relative to countries’ economic performance. For example, users can compare the trend of a country’s total IP filings with that of the country’s GDP. After compiling the data, WIPO makes it available to the public through its website and various publications. This data is then used by researchers, policymakers, and the private sector. “Submission rate varies across regions and year. For example, 127 offices shared their data with WIPO in 2014 and 2015. For 2016, we have received data from 130 offices to date,” Khan revealed. Statistical country profiles provide information on patents, utility models, trademarks and industrial designs. They cover different dimensions of IP activity, including incoming and outgoing filings, the share of filings in different technological fields, total patents in force, and the use of international IP systems by applicants. The IP filings and grants are divided into three categories; resident, non-resident and abroad. A resident filing refers to an application filed in the country by its own resident; a non-resident filing refers to the application filed by a foreign applicant. An abroad filing refers to an application filed by the country’s resident at a foreign office. According to the WIPO Statistics Database, other WIPO’s statistics come from several sources that include: data compiled by WIPO during the application process of international filings through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System for trademarks and the Hague System for industrial designs, and data extracted from the Patent Statistical Database, (PATSTAT) database, maintained by the European Patent Office. WIPO administers 26 treaties including the WIPO Convention. Image Credits: ARIPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Hillary Muheebwa may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Workshop: African States Are Themselves To Blame, Should Compile, Publicize IP Statistics" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.