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Wits celebrates Intellectual Property Day

- Wits University

By awarding Wits researchers for their contribution to IP rights, the event highlights the integration of innovation and creativity for a shared future.

Wits World IP day event

The Wits Innovation Centre hosted the 2024 World Intellectual Property (IP) Day Celebration on 26 April 2024. World IP Day is celebrated every year on April 26. This year's theme was IP and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals): Building our common future with innovation and creativity. The event provided an opportunity for Wits' inventors and creators to join with others around the globe to celebrate, and explore how IP helps to shape our world and to raise awareness about the role of IP rights in fostering innovation and creativity.  

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation of Wits University, Professor Lynn Morris, described IP as something that should be seen as a tool that facilitates progress rather than something that hinders it. "IP is an enabling vehicle, it's not an obstacle. We need IP to protect our innovations, because if we can safeguard them, we can also leverage them to propel economic growth."

It is essential to protect innovations through IP rights because it enables creators to confidently use their innovations to stimulate economic advancement. Ntonganedzeni Muanalo from National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), said “IP rights provide creators and innovators with exclusive rights to their creations, incentivising investment and innovation.”

As part of the celebration, Wits honoured the contributions of University researchers and innovators in the field of intellectual property, through four award categories: Patent Granted (14); Patent Citations Recognition (23); Commercialised Wits IP (12); and Student Entrepreneurs (16).  View the award winners.

Additionally, 23 winners of the IP quiz were awarded branded laptop stands, specially made through Tshimologong, a Wits Digital Incubator. 

“Wits is a hub of innovation in Africa with a storied history of ground breaking research. We are known for pushing boundaries and finding solutions to complex problems. Wits is driving innovation across disciplines,” said the Director of the Wits Innovation Centre, Dr Adam Pantanowitz.

The SDGs were set by the United Nations to transform our world by 2030. They address five critical areas of concern: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. While the SDGs do not explicitly mention IP rights, they play a crucial role in fostering an environment conducive to innovation and sustainable practices. The importance of IP rights are emphasised in Goal 9 of the SDGs, that says "Without technology and innovation, industrialisation will not happen, and without industrialisation, development will not happen."

The link between IP and sustainable development offers immense potential for positive change, said Muanalo.

“By investing in technology transfer and IP management, we can unleash a wave of innovation that transcends borders and transforms lives.”