Intellectual property management and protection : low intellectual property registration at universities : a case study of the Durban University of Technology
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the low rate of registration of IP rights such as patents, trademark and design rights at the DUT, through a survey conducted with the academic research staff. Managing IP at a University of Technology today has new dimensions with the implementation of the IP Act 51 of 2008. Stimulation of the development and commercialization of technology within South Africa may benefit the country and its citizens. The knowledge economy indicates that research, development and innovation are fundamental prerequisites for achieving and maintaining competitiveness and sustained growth. The researcher undertook to explore reasons for low IP registration as a means to increase such activity at the DUT. This study adopted both the qualitative and quantitative methodologies with questionnaires distributed to full-time academic staff in selected departments. Factors that contributed to the gap between academic research and intellectual property registration were examined. This study investigates activities relating to patent registration, as well as the academic performance of researchers at DUT. The literature reviewed indicated that factors affecting low intellectual property right activities at the DUT may be a lack of awareness, implications of the ownership provisions, funding and an effective institutional arrangement for the management of intellectual property. This study identified strengths and weakness of DUT‟s IP management system. It is envisaged that the findings of the study will contribute to increasing IP registration at the DUT, in particular, and other UoT‟s in general. Low IP registration can be attributed to lack of understanding and awareness of the ownership provisions of the IP Act. The study highlighted lessons to be learned from universities in other countries and how the DUT‟s system can grow into an efficient and effective means of promoting national innovation and economic growth. In an increasingly global world, the ability to invent, design and manufacture goods and services that people want is more vital to our future prosperity than ever.