What we are presenting here is not just an article; it is a key that can unlock the door to prosperity in the entire Central Asia region. We are grateful to Dr. Hanno Schaumburg and Dr. Peter Fearon for this. Ed.
Prof. em. Dr. Hanno Schaumburg, Hamburg University of Technology, Germany
In his remarkable presentation on June 13, 2012, President Berdymuhammedov emphasized that the “Comprehensive development of science and effective use of its achievements in economy and development of the intellectual potential of the society are among the main priorities of the state policy of Turkmenistan”.
As priority sectors he properly defined agriculture, environmental resources, energy saving, chemical technology, construction, architecture, seismology, medical and pharmaceutical production, ICT, economy, and humanities.
On the other side, however, he strongly pointed out the present deficiencies in strategy and professional leadership within the existing system that do not allow the intellectual potential of Turkmenistan to occupy its proper place in the world of international science.
As has been pointed out before in this bulletin (Oct. 17, Oct. 31, and Dec. 5, 2011, and Febr. 21, 2012) international cooperation will be the most efficient way for a rapid development of Turkmen science and technology to an internationally acclaimed level.
An important follow-up aspect of the development of the national intellectual potential is the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights as pointed out in the following article by a well-known IP-professional from the University of Brighton: Dr Fearon argues that Intellectual Property has the potential to become a significant factor and driving force in the overall economic performance of the country.
Using intellectual property to increase GDP
Dr. Peter Fearon, University of Brighton, United Kingdom, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately, international efforts to encourage more robust intellectual property protection in emerging economies have been mostly focused on protecting the West’s interests in key areas of copyright and trademarks. This has given rise to a totally negative perception of the key role of intellectual property in the development of a nation and it is the aim of this article to correct that misconception.
Emerging economies aiming to compete in the world markets must be innovative and to do so they must develop and protect the intangible assets that form the core of the innovation potential of their business and academic communities.
It should be obvious that innovation, economic growth and intellectual property are closely entwined and that the power of ideas to drive economic development and growth is evident throughout the world. One has only to look to the US or to the Asian tiger economies. For example, it is estimated that the value of US intellectual property is equivalent to 45% of its GDP. Although the GDP of emerging nations is hugely influenced by their natural resources it must be argued that not only will GDP benefit from the development and protection of new ways of exploiting these natural resources but also importantly from the nurturing of a parallel knowledge economy. It is this knowledge economy that will differentiate the new nations in the 21st century.
Turkmenistan with its long history of academic training and it’s well educated and youthful population is uniquely placed to benefit from any move to a knowledge economy. However, before this can occur a national programme of education directed at the business and academic communities is necessary that has the aim of restoring a positive perception of intellectual property protection so that the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs are not only inspired but also set free and allowed to prosper. This pool of inventor entrepreneurs will come from the worlds of small business, engineering and mining and from academic and research institutions.
Turkmenistan has already taken the first steps through the creation of the Turkmenistan patent office which is part of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and gives adherence to the Patent Treaty Convention (PCT) and the Eurasian and Paris conventions. The PCT in particular allows easy access to worldwide patent protection for ideas generated in Turkmenistan.
Having educated and inspired on the purpose and benefits of robust national intellectual property laws, the next step should be to create an environment in which entrepreneurship and innovation can develop rapidly.
This new entrepreneurship environment should encompass the auditing of intellectual property in organisations, support for IP protection, funding for further development of ideas and strategies for market entry at national and international levels.
This entrepreneurial support should not be confined to research institutions and academia since it is much more likely that many innovative ideas will come directly from industry, particularly the agricultural, engineering and mining sectors that are Turkmenistan’s strength.
The eventual aim should be that national intellectual property laws do not only facilitate direct foreign investment into Turkmenistan but also empower the next generation of entrepreneurial heroes leading to the creation of a successful knowledge economy for the nation.