My 2-day conference on technology transfer in Riyadh concluded today. I was there as a speaker to share the experiences from Malaysia and in the process learned that the Saudis were very interested in what we did and how we did it since the situation in Saudi Arabia is quite similar to ours.

Intellectual Property is a relatively new subject in Saudi Arabia and not widely understood. The country is still very much a net importer of IP and is seeking ways to build local capability and capacity in various technological fields and in how to manage and exploit their IP. At the same time, they have to struggle with the lack of awareness about IP and need greater political will to push the country forward.

At this point, it occurred to me that much of Malaysia’s progress in the last decade is due to the vision and drive of our former PM, Dr. Mahathir. He helped to put Malaysia on the world stage and implanted a bold Vision 2020 for the nation. These efforts filtered down into the realm of IP since the innovations, inventions and advancement would have to be managed and exploited in order for their economic benefits to be reaped.

It seems crucial then that for developing nations to advance their national IP level, there must be leadership and a strong political will behind making IP a priority.

Posted by: John Chong on 9/5/2005 1:21:00 PM