Internet Hinders Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

Ugandan Minister of justice and constitutional affairs Hon. Kahinda Otafiire

 Minister of justice Hon. Kahinda Otafiire
Minister of justice Hon. Kahinda Otafiire

The rise in digital and cyber crime cases in Uganda has made the enforcement of intellectual property rights an uphill task, Police has revealed. Intellectual Property Rights cover the creations of the mind.

It includes things such as copyright, patents, trademarks and other inventions. Despite the fact that Uganda Registration Services Bureau has been working with police to curb the abuse of intellectual property, the infringement continues unabated.

As a result, efforts are underway to train special police force in matter pertaining to intellectual property rights. Juliette Nassuna, the Director Intellectual Property – Uganda says that it is believed that once equipped with the knowledge, the cops will be able to stem the vice.
Haguma Jimmy is the Acting Commissioner in charge of electronics and cyber crime at the Uganda Police Force. His department is charged with handling the enforcement of digital crime and infringements on intellectual property rights.

He says  to fight these crimes requires training in collecting digital and forensic evidence, as well as being able to interpret  evidence and tender it before courts of law.  He says that after the training police will tap into community policing to curb the crimes.
Among other efforts to curb crime related to intellectual property theft, parties such as the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and URSB are working on a policy to facilitate protection of intellectual property.

Kahinda Otafire, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs says once the policy is in place, researchers and inventors in Uganda will be able to enjoy the economic gains that come with the utilization of their creations. Otafire also acknowledges present challenges on enforcement.
Currently, laws that govern intellectual property in Uganda include; the Copyright and Neighboring rights Act, the Patent Act, Trademark Act, and the United Kingdom designs Protection Act and the Trade Secrets Protection Act. The intellectual property week which commenced in Uganda on 22nd April, will culminate into the international day of Intellectual property on 26th April 2013.

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