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Intellectual property theft prompts UWI to warn scientists and researchers

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross

The extremely fast pace at which intellectual property is stolen in today's advanced world has forced the University of the West Indies (UWI) to place greater emphasis on educating its young scientists and inventors on how to prevent their copyrights from being stolen.

During UWI Research Days on Thursday, a copyright seminar will be hosted, at 9:30 a.m., in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, to lessen the occurrence of ideas being plagiarised.

UWI Research Day Steering Committee Chairman Denise Eldemire-Shearer told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week that the university was fully aware of copyright laws and the impact they have on research, and urged persons to license their ideas in the earliest stage possible.




"Under the 2015 copyright law, you should (register) do it while you are doing your research, whether in year two or three. Don't wait till [year] seven. We had a student who actually couldn't put the patent on [his research findings] because (he) participated in Research Day and it was, therefore, considered public. It is because we are aware of that, that we are trying to inform the students and the academics," Eldemire-Shearer stated.

Because the nature of research has evolved to such a great extent, for example, where people conduct these investigations for business purposes mostly, adequate knowledge becomes more applicable and relevant.

"The rules that govern copyright and intellectual property are becoming more complex as technology and the world of publishing evolve. Because research is changing, it's becoming more applicable and more relevant. Young people coming up, especially if you haven't submitted the degree yet, you don't want to run something through a turnitin (Turn It In - a text-matching system) and find out that it is already in the public domain," she stressed.

"Part of this is also the growth of what research is all about, because more and more students are doing research to be innovative, so there are researches around new products. People are interested in what their rights are and what they need to watch for."

There is absolutely no cost to be part of the seminar and all interested persons are being encouraged to come along.