Intellectual property laws promote investments

Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion said that the regulatory laws of intellectual property rights help in attracting investments in innovation-based enterprises. The ministry has developed a competitive business environment for the private sector to contribute effectively to the development of the national economy. It also said that the transfer of inventions to the stage of industrialization, production and then marketing will achieve good financial return for inventors and companies. This is by increasing the elements of production or innovation in boosting the efficiency of their productivity as these factors contribute in achieving economic growth.

Khalid bin Hamoud al Hinai, Head of Patents and Industrial Designs at the Intellectual Property Department of MoCIP, said: “The transition from the industrial age to the digital age brought many changes in the foundations of the economy. The importance of intangible intellectual assets such patents and trademarks show the quality of products and services in a knowledge-based economy.

“There has been an increase in the number of Omani inventors during last few years, as this is due to ministerial decision No. 206/2018 regarding reducing service fees for industrial property rights for students of schools, colleges and universities, and researchers of research centres by 90 per cent and for small enterprises by 50 per cent. This has reflected positively on this segment and stimulated them leading to increased applications for patents. In the past few years, the dramatic increase in patents has been in entirely new areas such as cloud software, drones, self-driving cars, etc.”

The invention of something new is a scientific achievement, but it is not necessarily that this scientific achievement has a value or commercial benefit. The markets require products or services to solve their problem or fulfil its basic need. Therefore, inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs must learn about the markets, analyze their data, identify various problems, whether they are in products, services, or production methods and techniques, and think about finding solutions and thus targeting the opportunities available in the markets, he said.

Al Hinai said the reason why many inventions did not succeed in many countries was that the inventor directly started with the idea of the invention and worked on the project without meeting the client and discussing problems and needs. Study of the aspirations of customers and the needs of consumers help in coming up with different innovative business ideas which makes the innovative entrepreneurs different from others. Their innovations have market value as well as additional scientific and technical importance. They get popular swiftly. Those who do not come up with out-of-the box ideas have limited popularity and reach.

After collecting the information and data, the innovator begins working on the idea, which takes the form of a distinct trademark for his project different from the rest of the products or services and a patent or industrial design. The inventor or innovator must not publish the idea or disclose details of the technical characteristics of the innovation before protecting it. It should get legal protection by submitting it with the competent authorities, said Al Hinai.

“In general, it can be said that the patent is the inherent link between the success of an invention at the laboratory level on the one hand and its transfer to the stage of production and manufacture for the benefit of its consumers or markets on the other. Innovation, which is part of the modern way of life, is also the basis of economic progress and the main engine of the successive industrial revolutions. However, there is another factor equally important for innovation. That is the protection of the inventor’s rights on his or her invention, as there is a strong positive relationship between the development and protection of property rights. Intellectual property if protected help in escalating scientific, technological, industrial and artistic revolutions.”

This intellectual property rights protection helps in protection of the interests of clients and consumers. It guarantees the high level of consumer satisfaction and saves them from any chances of fraud. It increases the competitive capabilities of the producers and supports them in achieving highest levels of returns and investment spending, he said.

Al Hinai said that a patent was a document, a certificate, given by the state or any officially authorized body, whether national or regional, for a specific period of time to one of the innovators on an invention he had done. Its purpose is to stimulate and encourage innovation for the sake of economic progress. He said that the innovation was the technical solution of any problem and issues faced by any markets. This can be in the form of improvement in existing innovations, new formulations of the materials or new chemical compounds, and new uses of manufacturing process technologies.

Al Hinai said that many job-generating companies and factories relied on the information disclosed in the patents to keep pace with technological progress. These companies and factories have grown and developed strongly based on patented inventions made by emerging companies. They could thrive due to their easy access to information regarding innovations made in agreement with the innovators.

Al Hinai said that the patent has many features of personal ownership, as it may be sold to others, mortgaged, or may be transferred to the heirs of the deceased inventor. Since the patent grants the owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention, he may authorize others to do any of these things, and get returns or other compensation in exchange for this authorization. He also said that after the invention is protected legally, the owner of the innovation has the freedom to use it as he or she wants. They themselves can decide how to develop it as products or consumer goods.

The inventors who believe that their inventions have commercial potential should strive to deliver that information through the channels used always by industrial companies. The innovators can start working as entrepreneurs, creating profit-oriented companies based on technologies being developed as it is an important step for a successful business.

“Protection of the intellectual property leads to the achievement of economic gains. The protection for creativity means a greater ability to continuously develop human, industrial and commercial knowledge.”

He also said that countries which provide this protection have a greater ability to attract foreign direct investment supporting economic growth rates and providing more job opportunities. At the same time, it helps in  increasing levels of competitiveness of the national economy.