This post is from Guat Hong Teh, CAS-IP’s Legal Specialist describing her recent experience at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) at a presentation about IP management issues.
“Today, I had the pleasure of being invited to two presentations at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). The first talk was by one Dr A. Sivapragasam who is the Senior Principal Research Officer at the Rice and Industrial Crop Centre of MARDI. His talk entitled ‘Coconut-Prospects for a Sunrise Industry’ was extremely thought-provoking. To an almost full auditorium, he discussed the various opportunities for Malaysia (and other coconut-growing countries) in investing in coconut research to increase the livelihood of farmers and stimulate the growth of small and medium-size industries. What was most interesting to me in his presentation was the message that farmers’ income could be increased in many folds by small innovations which add value to the diversified products that could be produced out of the ‘tree of life’. Also, the whole tone in his presentation about engagement with the private sector and ‘branding coconut’ was very refreshing. I am sure my path will cross with his again as I will be involved with Rafeah and Dr Lam of MARDI on studying the IP strategies of one of MARDI’s most successful coconut technologies – the modified virgin coconut oil. I look forward to picking his brain and hearing from him first-hand how IP can assist his passion for coconut research.
The second presentation was delivered by Rafeah A. Rahman, my partner in the NPI. She gave an excellent presentation on her involvement with the network of IP and TT practitioners in developing countries through the NPI and what that has meant for her professional development as well as her responsibilities at MARDI. She also very kindly introduced the CAS-IP team and NPI members to the crowd and explained some of the many exciting activities that we have planned for this year.
She received several comments and questions from the audience which could be summarised as follows:
a) The status of IP management at MARDI needs to be elevated. Management should provide dedicated funds to the activities of the office and equip it with officers who have expertise in law, science and business development. The various units in MARDI dealing with IP management and commercialisation should work in a more integrated manner.
b) The IP unit should continuously monitor the implementation of the IP policy at MARDI and determine its effectiveness in providing incentives to researchers. Attention also needs to be given to researchers who are involved in producing public goods.
c) Negotiation skills are important for the IP and business units. The involvement of the technology generators or scientists is essential when negotiating licensing of inventions.
d) There is a need to strategise on when and how MARDI should commercialise technologies and deliver public goods from research funded by government grants.”
Guat Hong Teh, CAS-IP