Photo: Pixababy.
HARARE - Zimbabwe needs to simplify laws on intellectual property rights to enable inventors to fully appreciate them, an official said on Monday.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza told reporters ahead of a continental conference on intellectual property (IP) that although Zimbabwe has legal frameworks that cater for inventions, it was high time the country simplified them for the benefit of inventors.

"What we also need to do is to raise awareness on those laws that exist. We all know there is a value chain in order for one to benefit from intellectual property," she said. Zimbabwe recently acceded to the Beijing Treaty (for audio- visual performances) and the Marrakesh Treaty (to do with print for the visually impaired). Mabhiza said some of the existing statutes need to be amended, state news agency New Ziana reported.

"Yes we have a legal framework that caters for our IP systems here in Zimbabwe. Perhaps what we have to look at is on the amendment of some of the existing statutes that govern intellectual property.

"There are so many other treaties that we have to ratify and domesticate in order to bring ourselves as a country up to standard with modern IP practices," she said. 

Zimbabwe is set to host a continental conference on intellectual property from Nov. 6-8. She said Zimbabwe was privileged to host the conference on intellectual property, innovation and value addition for business competitiveness and sustainable development in Africa for the first time.

"As Zimbabwe, we are looking forward to this conference for it encourages a pro-intellectual property attitude which will help in building IP respect in all spheres of business and research," she said.

She hoped that the conference will provide an ideal platform for sharing views and ideas as well as improving the understanding of the importance of intellectual property for sustainable development.

The conference is organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization in collaboration with the Africa Regional Property Organization. 

XINHUA