The CSIR Licensing and Ventures Office, Legal Services and the R&D Office hosted an exhibition and talk on World Intellectual Property Day (April 26) to address these topics and to engage CSIR staff on issues relating to Intellectual Property (IP); the policies that govern who the rightful owners of a particular intellectual creation are, how to appropriately disclose, protect and ultimately effectively exploit that IP.Do you personally own the technology that you conceptualise and develop for the CSIR? When is it appropriate to talk about your work on social media, or even discuss it with your family and friends?
The event gave researchers an opportunity to learn more about the role that IP rights such as trademarks, trade secrets, registered designs, copyright and patents play in encouraging innovation and creativity.
The CSIR CEO, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, gave the staff an account of his experience in setting up a spin-out company and the obstacles that he and his business partners overcame on matters relating to IP and commercialisation. Dr Sibisi also offered CSIR staff advice on how to navigate the path of venturing into the commercialisation sphere.
Ian Learmonth, an Associate Attorney from Adams and Adams, a leading law firm, gave tips and advice on the do’s and don’ts of conducting yourself as a professional representing a brand on social media platforms.
Dr Sibisi says one of the most important lessons he learnt was that although it was not necessary to work through a technology transfer office akin to the CSIR’s Licensing and Ventures Office at the time, in hindsight, they should have considered the option because the university technology transfer office would have helped them explore broader business and commercialisation issues such as business models, scaling, competitive advantages, as well as many other aspects that would have contributed to the success of their company.
He reflected that as scientists, they probably could have done more to build a sustainable business instead of primarily focusing on the technology aspect of their trade.
Looking back, he said that he realises that they really did not want to be business people and that their passion lay in science.
However, he urged CSIR staff not to follow the path he took, but instead to make use of the wide range of resources and commercial expertise available through the CSIR Licensing and Ventures Office to make better informed decisions on whether a start-up is indeed the most appropriate commercialisation mechanism.
Ian Learmonth, an Associate Attorney from Adams and Adams, a leading law firm specialising in IP and commercial services was also on hand to give tips and advice on the do’s and don’ts of conducting yourself as a professional representing a brand on social media platforms.
“If you own a business that actively participates in social media, you need to think carefully about the company information that you share on these platforms. Be aware that you could, for example, lose control of your IP when it is used or copied by a platform such as Facebook or by your competitors,” says Learmonth.
CSIR employees also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with licensees who were exhibiting various CSIR technologies on the day.
Topics ranging from hashtags, how IP plays out on social media and how you can interfere with other people’s IP on social media were widely discussed and debated on the day.
In addition to the talks, CSIR employees also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with licensees who were exhibiting various CSIR technologies on the day.
“The Licensing and Ventures Office expanded our knowledge and opened new doors for us,” says Kribashnee Dorasamy, a biometrics researcher, who attended the exhibition and presented ‘the fingerprint library’, which was licensed in 2015.
As a well-established support structure for IP and technology transfer, the CSIR Licensing and Ventures Office extends an open invitation to all CSIR staff to actively engage with them on any issues relating to how the office can transform your ideas into innovations through technology transfer.
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