20 November 2011

Abu Dhabi TDC Promotes Understanding of Patents in Academia

20 November 2011, Abu Dhabi, UAE
As part of its ongoing efforts to support the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC) is conducting a series of patent awareness workshops with a focus on academic entities based in the Emirate. Commenting on the reason for holding these workshops, H.E. Ahmed Saeed Al Calily, Director General of TDC, stated: “TDC conducted a comprehensive analysis of the different building blocks of the UAE’s Intellectual Property system including IP laws, IP related administration and registration processes, and the system for IP rights protection. The analysis identified gaps in several key areas which we plan on addressing with the help of other government stakeholders.”

One of the key gaps identified by TDC’s assessment involves patents. Commenting on this, H.E. Al Calily said: “Patents are an important part of the innovation lifecycle, especially in academia, as they facilitate the technology transfer process. Unfortunately, patent output from Abu Dhabi academia is relatively low, partially due to lack of awareness regarding the importance of patents and the patent application process. These sessions aim at addressing that awareness gap which is an important step towards developing innovation in Abu Dhabi.”

To date, TDC has held workshops with three different academic entities including Masdar Institute, the Petroleum Institute, and Abu Dhabi University. Dr. Steve Griffiths, Executive Director of the Office of Institute Initiatives at Masdar Institute was enthusiastic after attending the workshop: “This workshop is extremely important as university researchers need to be aware of when, why and how to seek patent protection.” Similarly, Dr. Ioannis Economou, Associate Provost for Graduate Studies at the Petroleum Institute commented positively on the workshop stating that “TDC gave our researchers valuable insights into the patenting process. For example, many are unaware that patent protection cannot be sought for published research. Without this information, researchers might have inadvertently lost the right to benefit from ideas that they’ve worked so hard on developing.” Dr. Mohammed Parakandi, Research Coordinator at Abu Dhabi University added “As a result of this workshop, we now plan on working closely with faculty members to help determine if their research has a potential scope for patenting.”

TDC will be hosting additional patent awareness workshops for academia throughout 2012. In addition, TDC plans on launching a similar series of workshops with a focus on Abu Dhabi based enterprises.