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Stakeholders underline need to protect intellectual property in ICT sector

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jun 25,2014 - Last updated at Jun 25,2014

AMMAN — IT sector stakeholders on Wednesday underlined the need for protecting intellectual property (IP) in the industry, which they said is a pillar for its growth.

At a meeting held by the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Programme, they discussed challenges and opportunities in the ICT industry, which contributes around 14 per cent to the country's gross domestic product.

"We should focus on developing and protecting IP in the sector. This is the key to increase exports and make the sector register growth," MenaItech CEO Bashar Hawamdeh said at the Innovative Jordan stakeholder meeting.

"IP is very important for start-ups in the ICT sector to grow. We need to create products that enjoy IP rights, which will make them competitive," Hawamdeh added.

Omar Hamarneh, executive chairman of iPARK, a technology-focused business park that provides a complete package of support and services, voiced similar sentiments.

He said incubators and organisations in the field should focus on commercialisation of intellectual property.

Some IT experts at the event said the government should adopt policies that facilitate business in the sector and provide incentives rather than treating the industry as a "cash cow" and imposing additional taxes.

Attendees also discussed their next steps following His Majesty King Abdullah's recent trip to the US to promote the Innovative Jordan initiative.  

At the meeting, members of the Jordanian delegation that accompanied the King to the US in May discussed their efforts to create linkages with American investors and business leaders, and to present their technical innovations to counterparts in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley in California.  

The overarching goal of the conference, and future meetings leading up to November’s Middle East North Africa ICT Forum in Amman, is to create an investment climate where local entrepreneurs can readily access capital to expand their businesses to become regional and global players, according to a USAID statement. 

Launched in October 2013, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Programme is working to improve the Kingdom’s business climate to create jobs, attract foreign investment and increase exports.  

The programme is initially focusing on three knowledge economy sectors: ICT, clean technologies, and healthcare and life sciences, the statement said.

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