The WRC takes measures to safeguard innovation
South Africa is gradually becoming a knowledge-based economy which means relying heavily on innovation as a driver of economic growth. The WRC, as a knowledge-generating research institution produces a lot of innovative technological solutions that must be taken and applied to the benefit of the country. While these technological developments are necessary for the country’s development, the WRC carefully protects them by providing clear guidelines aligned to the country’s Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act No. 51 of 2008. (IPR Act).
The WRC is one of the first organisations in South Africa to have aligned itself with the new IPR Act. The IPR Act was passed to meet the growing need to protect and commercialise intellectual property (IP) emanating from publicly-financed research and development. In 2009 the WRC implemented interim guiding principles with regard to the WRC’s position on intellectual property management in the period leading up to the approval of the IPR Act Regulations which came into effect on 2 August 2010. A WRC Intellectual Property Management Policy was subsequently developed, which was approved by the Board on 24 March 2011.
According to the WRC IP manager Lawrence Baloyi, the coming into being of the IPR Act effectively means that the WRC as a funder of water research shall no longer own intellectual property emanating from publicly funded research institutions. However, where the WRC is funding a private research institution, intellectual property emanating thereafter shall vest in the WRC. The fact that publicly funded institutions own IP developed through WRC funding does not prevent the WRC from collaborating with publicly funded institutions in commercializing such Intellectual property. The WRC shall also be entitled to a royalty free licence for educational purposes and to further conduct research on the intellectual property developed by publicly funded institutions.
Contact : IP Manager, Lawrence Baloyi