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Vice Chancellor Calls for Responsible Use of Patents to solve Societal Challenges

The Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Elijah I. Omwenga, who is also a Director on the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) Board has called for the responsible use of patents to address challenges that are critical to society. He said this during the commemoration of World Intellectual Property Day, 2024 whose Theme was ‘IP and SDGs: Building our Common Future with Innovation and Creativity.’

Speaking in a panel discussion on ‘Innovating for Sustainability: The Role of IP in Achieving the SDGs’,Prof. Omwenga noted that there needs to be a balance between Intellectual Property protection and the use of innovations for purposes of dealing with issues of health, agriculture, water and sanitation, solar energy and others.

“As much as we patent and protect these assets, we must also realize that we have a responsibility to the community. Therefore, the laws which exist should be flexible enough to allow for the propagation and application of these patents to deal with societal issues,” he said.  Doing this will ensure that every sector of the economy grows in tandem with the available patents by breaking down stringent barriers that may impede the use of the innovations.

The Ag. Vice Chancellor’s remarks are in line with the Vision of the Open University of Kenya which is an ‘Innovative University for Inclusive Prosperity.’  As such, it has set out to provide inclusive and quality education through the use of innovative strategies.

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The Open University of Kenya (OUK) is a virtual learning institution deeply committed to advancing education and driving socio-economic growth within Kenya and beyond. Access to higher education has remained a major challenge in Kenya and this has disadvantaged citizens who seek to improve their knowledge, upscale skills and for posterity. Experts have noted that increasing the number of educational institutions so as to match the rate of population growth is an extremely difficult if not impossible solution especially when financial and other resource constraints are considered. Open and Distance Learning approaches, coupled with innovative ICT solutions, have proofed viable alternatives to providing excellent education to millions of people located wherever and whenever by different life circumstances.