Microsoft Corp. has recently been making significant news in the intellectual property arena after releasing an IP portal, Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub, signing a patent cross-licensing agreement with Canon, and shifting Horacio Gutierrez to a new role within the company.
At the end of June, Microsoft revealed a new online IP portal called Microsoft 4Afrika IP Hub in order to create an IP protection culture in Africa. According to Microsoft, the portal will help develop, protect and monetize innovations. Up until now, there has not been a lot of initiative to protect valuable IP. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) only 383 resident applications were filed in Kenya between 2009 and 2012 whereas 268,000 resident patents were filed in that time in the United States. So in order to reduce the vulnerability of exploitation, Microsoft is providing a tool that small businesses of Africa can now use.