The Liberia Intellectual Property Office or LIPO, has held a one-day seminar for over 100 students in Monrovia to enhance their understanding of intellectual property and foster creativity among them.
The seminar was held at the Paynesville Community Public School over the weekend, bringing together 11 schools.LIPO Acting Director General, Theresa S. Thomas explains that such seminar is critical to the agency’s goal of making Liberia a knowledge-based country.
Thomas stresses that educating students about intellectual property is significant because it enables them to understand how ideas are recognized and protected which motivate them to explore their creativity.
“Students understanding of IP-related issue is key to the development of Liberia in this fast-growing knowledge base. Research has shown that the better the students’ understanding of IP, the greater the chances for them to participate in a global economy that is increasingly driven by intellectual property”, she says.
She notes that in today’s digitized world, which depends on inventiveness and creativity, it is important that Liberian students are equipped with the knowledge they need to make Liberia a knowledge-based country to bring about huge economic growth to take the country out of poverty.
Mrs. Thomas maintains that in the absence of IP knowledge, they would not be able to reap benefits from their creations, which could discourage them from going forward in exploring their creativity.
“We cannot compete in this 21st century, the age of intellectual creation if our students and teachers lack the basic knowledge about IP. Also, this seminar is intended to educate them about piracy, its effects and to encourage them to stop purchasing or downloading illegal products,” she notes.
She says the seminar is the beginning of a nationwide students engagement programs which focus on three thematic topics: Piracy, copyrights and related rights and industrial property.
“One of the greatest benefits of this nationwide seminar is that it encourages students to support legitimate work and stop engaging in any forms of piracy because they are feature creators too.”
One of the students, Surprise S. Yuan from Effort Baptist Church School describes the seminar as a good initiative that would motivate students to explore their potentials.
“As an aspiring author, this seminar has taught us lot of lessons and enhanced our understanding of IP. Now with this knowledge, we’re going to become goodwill ambassadors to educate the general public about IP, benefits and the negative effect of piracy,” Surprise vows.
LIPO is a corporate semi-autonomous agency of government responsible to formulate policies that would promote generation, protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property materials in Liberia.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne