Posted on May 17, 2017
On 26 April every year, intellectual property (IP) professionals from all over the world celebrate World IP Day. At the University of Pretoria, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in the Department of Research and Innovation, in collaboration with the Department of Library Services, celebrated by hosting an IP lunch talk on 25 April 2017.
The event was held in the Merensky 2 Library Auditorium, and academic staff members, postgraduate students and IP professionals filled the venue. This year, the focus of World IP Day was on how innovation improves lives in terms of health, safety and comfort. Dr Nthabiseng Taole, Director of the Department of Research and Innovation, welcomed the guests and speakers. Ms Refilwe Ngoato, Manager of the TTO, was the programme director.
Dr Herman Myburg, a senior lecturer in the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and co-inventor and co-founder of the hearX Group (which offers innovative smart solutions for healthy hearing), presented the group's research and inventions. He aptly quoted Helen Keller: 'Blindness separates people from things, and deafness separates people from people.' According to the group's research, hearing loss is an invisible epidemic that affects approximately 360 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. The group's research was instrumental in the development of the hearing test app, HearZA, which was launched in March 2016.
This was followed by a presentation by Chyreen Truluck, a patent attorney and associate at Spoor & Fisher, who specialises in domestic and international patent matters, particularly in the field of Biotechnology and Life Sciences. She gave an extensive talk on IP law, covering some background on the various forms of IP, with real-life examples which illustrate that IP is a tool for improving lives.
The event had an interactive aspect, as guests had the opportunity to engage with the experts through questions and comments. Advocate Lawrence Baloyi, Head of Contract Research and Innovation Support in the Department of Research and Innovation, debunked several persistent myths about IP before making his closing remarks. Advocate Baloyi invited people to attend more of the IP events and seminars presented by the University, to become more informed about IP, and to see what is being invented and how the TTO operates.
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