There streets in most developing countries are flooded with second hand cars. They come in all makes and sizes at a price more expensive than the last owner would care to pay for. They have contributed to the already certified traffic menace on the road and increase by the day.
Why is there very little innovation in Kenya and probably East Africa with regards to the motor manufacturing and assembly industry? For Intellectual Property to flourish, there needs to be a motivation for innovation.
There is a car bazaar on any vacant space along a key road and many more second hand imports available online. It is no wonder that the seeds of innovators withered a long time ago with the Nyayo Pioneer car. The Nyayo Pioneer were the first ever Kenyan made cars in 1986 by University of Nairobi students at the behest of the then president. They were sourced from local raw materials and were pretty okay by the then standards. It failed for lack of funds.
A society that depends too heavily on imports hinders innovation. Will there ever be another opportunity to nourish our fledged car industry? By the look of the imported steel outside my window, the answer: a blatant nay!
Julian Hakes:Mojito Shoes
In my first year at Law school I came up with a brilliant (or so I thought) idea for a ladies shoe. It was truly way before its time! I received a letter through my door on a random winter day about a company in Europe which did research and development on innovative products. With the naivety of youth, I happily posted them my drawings and a brief description of how the invention worked.
It took six months before I got a response stating that they had assessed the product of my virtuoso and all they needed was $500 to do a thorough market research. With my malnourished pockets, this was someone’s idea of a sick joke. Poof! Went my dreams.
Fast forward 8 years later and there on my T.V screen is a story on CNN about the same shoe (the spawn of my creative genius) being peddled around New York!
Those were rookie days when Intellectual Property sounded like a corporation selling smart houses. In this day and age, we are a lot more aware about how to protect the expression of our ideas and inventions. But, there are many naïve mini ME’s still being bewitched by such trickery.
Protect your creation at all costs. If it is an invention by all means find out how to patent it. If you can’t afford this, then by all means ‘Do Not’ put it out there until you can.