Women listed as inventors in third of global patent filings: UN

From left: Young inventors Wang Yifan, Fan Xiyu and Li Peize from Beijing 101 Middle School present their creation — an intelligent new green plant louvre curtain, to purify and refresh air inside a house instead of air cleaners — during the opening day of the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva on April 2, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Women listed as inventors in third of global patent filings: UN

GENEVA: The UN on Thursday hailed a significant increase in women listed as inventors in global patent filings over the past decade, but warned a pronounced gender gap remained.
New data from the World Intellectual Property Organization showed that women were listed in 31 percent of the some 224,000 international patent applications it published last year.
That compares to just 23 percent a decade earlier, the UN agency said.
WIPO chief Francis Gurry celebrated in a statement “the innovative, creative accomplishments of women around the globe.”
He pointed out that “international patent applications are an important benchmark for measuring innovative activity in the contemporary, global economy,” stressing that “anything less than the achievement of full parity between men and women is a missed opportunity.”
The agency’s data showed that South Korea was best in class on gender, with at least one woman listed among inventors in more than 50 percent of all international patent applications.
China, the world’s second largest filer of international patents, also came in second when it came to including women inventors in its filings, at 48 percent.
The world leader in international patent applications, the United States, meanwhile only listed women among the inventors in 33 percent of its filings, placing it fifth, WIPO said.
International patent applications in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry showed the highest inclusion of women, with female inventors listed in a majority of patents in these disciplines, WIPO said.
Biotech topped the ranking, counting women inventors in 58 percent of all filings, while patents related to mechanical elements was at the bottom of the list, with just 14 percent.


Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

Updated 23 May 2018
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Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

  • Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish
  • Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy

KABUL: One of the only Qur’ans ever made from silk fabric has been completed in Afghanistan — a feat its creators hope will help preserve the country’s centuries-old tradition of calligraphy.
Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish.
Bound in goat leather and weighing 8.6 kilograms, the Qur’an was produced by Afghan artisans, many of them trained at British foundation Turquoise Mountain in Kabul.
“Our intention was to ensure that calligraphy does not die out in this country — writing is part of our culture,” Khwaja Qamaruddin Chishti, a 66-year-old master calligrapher, said in a cramped office inside Turquoise Mountain’s labyrinthine mud-brick and wood-paneled complex.
With the Qur’an considered a sacred text, calligraphy is highly venerated in Islam and Islamic art.
“When it comes to art we cannot put a price on it. God has entrusted us with this work (the Qur’an) ... and this means more to us than the financial aspect,” Chishti continued.
Using a bamboo or reed ink pen, Chishti and his fellow calligraphers spent up to two days carefully copying Qur’anic verses onto a single page — sometimes longer if they made a mistake and had to start again.
They used the Naskh script, a calligraphic style developed in early Islam to replace Kufic because it was easier to read and write.
The decoration around the script, known as illumination, was more time-consuming, each page taking more than a week to complete.
A team of artists used paint made from natural materials, including ground lapis, gold and bronze, to recreate the delicate patterns popular during the Timurid dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries in the western city of Herat.
“All the colors we have used are from nature,” Mohammad Tamim Sahibzada, a master miniature artist who was responsible for creating the vibrant colors used in the Qur’an, said.
Sahibzada said working on silk fabric for the first time was challenging. The locally sourced material — all 305 meters (1,000 feet) of it — was treated in a solution made from the dried seeds of ispaghula, or psyllium, to stop the ink from spreading.
Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy.
It hopes the silk Qur’an will generate demand for more handmade Islamic religious texts that could create employment for its artisans and help finance the institute.
“We will show it to other Islamic countries to see if it is possible to create job opportunities for graduates to work on another Qur’an,” said Abdul Waheed Khalili, the organization’s Afghan director.
For now, it will be kept in a specially made hand-carved walnut wooden box to protect its delicate pages from the elements at Turquoise Mountain’s offices, which are in the restored Murad Khani, a historic commercial and residential area in Kabul’s oldest district.
There Turquoise Mountain has trained thousands of artisans with the support of Britain’s Prince Charles, the British Council, and USAID.
“The copying of the Qur’an onto silk is very rare,” country director Nathan Stroupe said.
He said the project has been “an amazing way to train our students at an incredibly high level in a very traditional type of work.”
“If a book collector in London... was interested in it, we would be thinking in the $100,000 to $200,000 (price) range,” he added.