Nyakundi and Mnjama -Part 8
Computerization of KIPO patent records
The study sought to find out how computerization of KIPO activities could affect the staff in terms of accessing the patent information. The study revealed that KIPO is currently automating some of its activities. This study therefore recommends that the computerization programme be extended to include library and records management operations.
Role of Kenya National Archives
The Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services is the only government institution vested with the responsibility of ensuring that records are well managed, in accordance with acceptable record keeping practices. This study therefore sought to determine if the Department had played any role in the management of patent records. The findings of this study indicate that Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services (KNADS) has not been able to carry out its responsibilities effectively as far as the management of patent records is concerned. Therefore this study recommends that KNADS be invited by KIPO to come and offer professional advice on the effectiveness management of patent record–keeping practices.
Financial resources for KIPO information related activities
Adequate provision of financial resources is a pre–requisite for the efficient and effective operation of an information centre. This study therefore sought to establish whether adequate resources are available to meet the information services provided by the patents office. As indicated elsewhere in this study, one of the major causes of poor patent information management is inadequate finance. For instance, it takes a long time for expenses for promotional activities to be approved because all the decisions have to be passed through a long process. Moreover. the study also revealed that there are insufficient funds for training needs of the KIPO staff, to purchase selection and processing tools, and for acquisition of basic patent literature from foreign patent offices. Lack of funds has also led to the shortage of storage space, lack of storage equipment and poor storage environment. This study recommends that the Director of KIPO should lobby the government to increase its budgetary allocations to KIPO especially with regard to advertising and publicity to enable the patent information and documentation center, the library and patent registry to carry out their programmes as planned without being constrained by financial resources.
Staff training and development
The study has shown that existing patent records staff do not have records management skills for managing paper records. It is therefore recommend that training be provided for the existing records staff to prepare them for good records management. The training should focus on good management practices and IT skills. Such training can be conducted through in-house workshops and seminars or through formal training in records management schools such as the Kenya Polytechnic, Kenya School of Professional Studies, Sigalagala Polytechnic, Moi University, University of Nairobi or abroad. Moreover, it is recommended that the Librarian be offered professional development courses to enable him to keep abreast of recent developments. The need to acquire competencies in information retrieval skills can be reinforced by the fact that librarians need to train their patrons in modern information retrieval strategies particularly the use of the Internet, World Wide Web, both online and offline electronic databases and many more.
It is further suggested that training should not be done in an ad hoc manner as it is the case at present. Rather, it should be appropriate to the individual staff member’s position and needs of KIPO. There should be a more imaginative training policy that balances the needs of the organization and the capabilities of individual. This will ensure that after training the individual will be able to apply his knowledge and skills. This will greatly reduces the level of frustration that is presently being experiences by trained members of staff.
Patent information is a very important resource in national development. The progress of a country depends very much on the provision of patent information at the right time. This calls for an effective management of patent information resource in the areas of selection, acquisition, classification, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of patent information in order to meet the needs of the users. There is also need for qualified patent information personnel to perform the above mentioned functions. Sufficient funding is quite important to support these activities. The study has further revealed that the current state of patent information management at KIPO faces many challenges from creation, maintenance, storage, retrieval, dissemination, preservation and conservation and disaster preparedness and security. The establishment of a patent records management programme at KIPO is therefore strongly recommended. This will help to maintain appropriate control over the records throughout the organization, as well as eradicate poor storage, ineffective retrieval and space problem.