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South African Guidelines to Customize the WIPO IP Policy Template for Universities

South African Guidelines to Customize the WIPO IP Policy Template for Universities

Submitted by Efua Halm on Wed, 26/01/2022 - 16:01

The WIPO Database of Policies published yet another National Intellectual Property Policy Model for Academic and Research Institutes.  The South African National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) issued the Guideline 8.1 of 2021, Intellectual Property Policy: An Easy Guide to assist institutions in drafting intellectual property (IP) policies that are consistent with the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act (Act 51 of 2008), the IPR Act and other relevant legislation.

An IP policy is a formal document that provides a framework for how IP is managed by the university or research institution. An IP policy provides legal certainty and transparency for all staff, students and other stakeholders to know upfront how the IP that will be created is managed. Other benefits are that the IP policy can create an environment to encourage innovation and commercialization of IP; set out the rules of engagement for public-private partnerships to support economic development; address potentially conflicting interests of the different stakeholders and ensure compliance with national legislation.

The South African Guideline draws on the WIPO IP Policy Template and contextualizes it to South Africa’s legislation. WIPO developed an IP Policy Toolkit that comprises:

a) IP Policy Template for Academic and Research Institutions;

b) Guidelines for Customization of the IP Policy Template, and

c) IP Policy Writer’s Checklist. 

These are available for public use ( This Toolkit provides a solid starting point for universities and research institutions who wish to create or enhance their IP policy and ultimately speed up commercialization of promising inventions. Other regional/national customized versions of the WIPO Template and Guidelines are available on the WIPO Database of Policies.