Aleck Ncube is the Intellectual Property Educator at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He holds qualifications in Media, Information Science and Intellectual Property Rights. He is currently a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cape Town. Between 2010 and 2012 he was a Fulbright Scholar and Research Fellow at the Franklin Pierce Law Center For Intellectual Property in the United States of America. In 2011 he was awarded the Association Of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Fellowship for Technology Transfer Professionals from Developing Countries. He has supervised the work of several successful Masters in Intellectual Property (MIP) students. Widely traveled, he has not only presented his work at several conferences, seminars, workshops and symposia in Zimbabwe and abroad, but has also been associated in an advisory capacity with several national institutions on Intellectual Property Rights Issues. His research interests are in building human and institutional capacity in Intellectual Property Rights Management and Technology Transfer Capacity in Developing countries.
Patent Information as a Tool for Accelerating Innovation Development in Developing Countries
The motivation for this paper comes from the observation that the application of patent information to accelerate innovation and overall development in developing countries is an angle that needs to be vigorously pursued. Developing countries must be active participants in legal and technical transfer of innovations including through patent searching to identify technologies of interest, patent owners, and the territorial scope of patent rights. The fundamental mantra is that “Access to information drives innovation” Patents are a unique source of information containing not only legal but also technical, business, and potentially policy-related information. Mining patents for information is an acquired skill that requires training and practice, familiarity with both legal and technical information and jargon, knowledge of the databases used, and an appreciation of strategic and efficient searching and information management. Properly mastered, patent information can facilitate the transformation of a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one. It is crucial to state that sophisticated search/retrieval systems are not yet well developed in most developing countries, and therefore reliance is largely placed on international and foreign systems to explain the models and options for patent information and retrieval.