Ron Layton

Founder & CEO

Ron Layton

Founder & Chief Executive

Ron Layton has combined successful careers in economic development and IP business to design the Light Years IP vision of engaging IP business techniques to reduce poverty and secure income for poor people through export trade in developing countries. Since forming LYIP as an NGO in 1999, Ron Layton has been creating mechanisms for poor producers in developing countries to improve the amount and security of export income from commodities and finished products. This process utilizes all forms of IP to assert the right to income from intangible values created and owned by poor countries. LYIP also assists with the products of innovation, including inventions, tribal names and all forms of designs, some traditional and mostly modern.

Ron’s has experience implementing projects in IP Value Capture opportunity in more than 20 African countries. The impact upon poverty has affected millions of African farmers and producers.

Ron has acted as IP consultant to producer groups, exporters and tribal groups, to businesses in fair trade and sustainable development, to the World Bank and the USPTO, and to Governments as different as Ethiopia, Niue and Bermuda. In 2004, the World Bank published a book titled "Poor People’s Knowledge" that included coverage of his work on IP and Poverty Alleviating Trade. In February 2004, Ron was elected as a Global Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation, recognition as a leading social entrepreneur working on a global level.

Ron is educated in economics and mathematics and worked as lead economist on numerous development projects in more than 20 developing countries for UNDP, ADAB, SPC, the Commonwealth and many governments. He has specialized in Intellectual Property for 25 years and in Intellectual Property for Development for 15 of those years. He began in 1977-80, originating and implementing jurisdictional Intellectual Property solutions in developing countries with very limited and weak economies. He led a project covering analysis and development of jurisdictional Intellectual Property sector in several countries where IP produced over 60% of government income and over 80% of export income. To acquire direct understanding of the role of branding and other Intellectual Property in Trade, he added ten years of commercial experience in earning export income, successfully distributing film product and derivative consumer products to over 100 world markets.

close

Dr. Margaret Brindle

Director of Education

Dr. Margaret Brindle

Director of Education

Meg’s vision is to make the concepts of Intellectual Property as a means of dramatically improving income for African and Caribbean stakeholders as absolutely clear and straightforward as possible. Her dream is that millions of low-income individuals would come to realize the potential already in their fields in the form of crops; in their homes in the form of arts and handicrafts; and in their names, images and culture by better integration of business tools and legal strategies with IP. Her desire is that millions would come to integrate Intellectual Property as a means of improving income and change Africa toward a living income for the next generation.

To this dream, Meg has written the Light Years IP educational materials and is Project Manager for the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative, coordinating training in Kenya and Tanzania with a growing team of Maasai as well as stateside, and UK innovators.

Meg has been an educator for almost 20 years, as a professor in both the MBA and Public Policy program at Carnegie Mellon University, and as tenured professor at George Mason University. She holds a PhD, and Masters degrees from Carnegie Mellon; and has published 4 books. For Light Years, Meg has written IP Value capture course curriculum; training workshop materials; written grant proposals; and served as trainer in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zanzibar.

close

Chris McCormick

Principle

Chris McCormick

Senior Analyst

Chris focuses on pipeline development, business planning, operations, and project management across several IP Value Capture Initiatives with Light Years IP. He applies his experience in global supply chain management and financial analysis to startup and early operations for projects across East Africa. Prior to work at Light Years IP, Chris spent a number of years in IT consulting managing large government projects, and he also assists stakeholders with communications and technical infrastructure.

Chris holds an MBA from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford with a focus in Social Impact business and international development, and an MSc in Computer Science.

close

The Right Honourable Lord Paul Boateng

The Right Honourable Lord Paul Boateng

Paul Boateng is a member of the British Parliament's House of Lords, and he is held in worldwide respect and has long engagement in African development and political advancement. He has both practiced at the Inns of Court and been an activist lawyer in the field of civil rights, human rights, and the anti-apartheid movement.

He made history by becoming the first UK government minister of African descent in 1997, and subsequently, he became the UK's first Cabinet Minister of African descent in 2002, where he served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury where he served with then-Chancellor Gordon Brown. He contributed to the UK government's important African Commission Report, and Tony Blair appointed him to the position of the UK's High Commissioner/Ambassador to South Africa in 2005.

Boateng launched the UK-funded Light Years IP publication "Distinctive Values in African Exports" in June 2008 at the World Economic Forum on Africa. He was given a life-time appointment to the UK House of Lords, Parliament's upper chamber, in 2010. He brings his vast experience and balanced insight to many Light Years IP issues and is currently acting co-Chair of the the African IP Trust.

close

Ms. Anne Belec

Former CEO of Volvo, NA and Director of Global Marketing at Ford

Ms. Anne Belec

CEO (Mosaic Group LLC)

• Development of Brand and business strategies.
• Brand definition and pragmatic implementation plans targeted to small and medium enterprises.
• Operating guides to facilitate implementation in organizations.
• 25+ years experience working in automotive industry.
• International clients in consumer goods.

VP, Chief Marketing Officer (Navistar, Inc.)

Director, Global Marketing (Ford Motor Company)

• Defining Ford Brand Essence globally and developing a brand engagement plan to build understanding and knowledge throughout the organization.
• Developing and Designing a quality operating system to bring marketing consistency and efficiency for key marketing processes shared in operations globally.

President & CEO Volvo Cars N.A. (Volvo Car Corporation)

VP Global Sales Operations (Volvo Cars Corporation)

close

Pauline Tiffen

Director

Pauline Tiffen

Director

Pauline has worked for academic institutions, mainstream and alternative business, the voluntary sector, co-operative and community and development organizations North and South, in advisory, executive and non-executive positions. She has demonstrated an exceptional ability to nurture cross-cultural economic exchange and to develop new forms of business over more than fifteen years of work in the alternative trading sector in traditional and non-traditional commodities.

Pauline was the founder of two pioneering fair trade companies: Cafedirect and The Day Chocolate Company, including the supply chain/farmer participation. From 1989-1997, she served as the Executive and Managing Director of Twin Trading, Ltd. Pauline was a Founding Board member of the International Federation of Alternative Trade (IFAT) and, since 2003, Board Member and adviser of the North American Fair Trade Federation, a network of 200 innovative Fair Trade businesses.

Since 2000 she has been an Operations Adviser to the World Bank, creating ways for primary producers and local financial institutions in Africa and Latin America to access financial products to hedge their exposure and risk. She has also been working at the WB and International Finance Corporation on corporate social responsibility and regional branding/marketing pilot projects in Central America.

Pauline holds a Master's degree from the University of Michigan; is a Fulbright Scholar and has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation NGO Fellowship for her work in conflict in trade in Africa. Pauline is multi-lingual, and conducts workshops throughout Africa, teaching IP Value Capture.

close

Dr. John Kilama

International IP Specialist

John Kilama

International IP Specialist

Dr. Kilama has expertise in several effective partnerships between multinational corporations and institutions in developing nations. Born in Uganda, Dr. Kilama received a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Arizona. Dr. Kilama worked at the DuPont Corp. and is the holder of several patents. He was on the Board of Directors of Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors, Inc. in Washington, DC. Concurrently, he is a Director and Founder of KICG, an organization with a mission to facilitate good management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) at institutional and national levels in emerging markets while serving on the Board of Pytica, Inc. He is an Advisor of Global Health at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Scientific Advisor to the Institute of One World Health and the International Organization for Chemistry in Development (IOCD), Belgium.

close

Arthur Wood

Founding Partner
Total Impact Advisors

Arthur Wood

Founding Partner, Total Impact Advisors

Arthur Wood has held senior positions in both "for profit" and "not for profit" enterprises. He is a recognised innovator in social finance and frequently invited to speak and write on innovative financing vehicles for social purposes.

Prior to his current roles with the World Sanitation Financing Facility and TIA he was SVP and a Leadership Group Member of Ashoka, the world's largest supporter of social entrepreneurs. At Ashoka he was Global Head of Social Financial Services, serving three years in DC and New York. Arthur has been instrumental in encouraging major global finance firms to enter the business of social investing in order to improve the way social capital is allocated and deployed. He is also deeply involved in the conceptualisation and creation of new legal hybrid structures to encourage social investment - most notably the L3C in the US and the SELLP in the UK. He has advised a range of broader social entrepreneurs in financing structures, including helping to launch a fund noted as "one of the top twenty ideas in new philanthropy" by Fast Company Magazine. Prior to working in Social Finance Arthur worked for over 20 years in the pure finance sector.

close

Michael Frankel

Founder and Managing Partner, Frankel Lawyers

Michael Frankel

Founder and Managing Partner, Frankel Lawyers

Michael Frankel has been practicing law for 30 years in Intellectual Property, Media, Entertainment, Indigenous Australian Law, and Public Policy Law. He is a partner in Frankel Lawyers and between 1985 and 1995 he was a member of the Federal Attorney-General's Copyright Law Review Committee. Mr. Frankel played a key role in the introduction of Moral Rights protection for Authors and Creators into Copyright Act. He is currently a member of the Media and Communications Committee, and is a trustee of Australian Society of Authors Benevolent Fund, since 2005. Michael was awarded Order of Australia AM, for his contribution to arts, cultural and Intellectual Property rights, media, law and Indigenous rights. In recognition of his contribution to authors and publishing, Michael was honored with Life Membership to the Australian Society of Authors.

close

Vicky Kengonzi

Outreach Coordinator, WONS

Vicky Kengonzie

Outreach Coordinator, WONS

Vicky Kengonzi is a native Ugandan with several years of experience working with women shea producers. She is assisting Light Years IP with Outreach activities.

close

Eric ole Reson

Regional training coordinator (Kenya and Tanzania)

Eric ole Reson

Regional training coordinator (Kenya and Tanzania)

Eric works on mobilizing and training Maasai leaders and elders on Intellectual Property rights, building the General Assembly and co-ordinating MIPI affairs by liaising with LYIP, MPIDO and Dr. Ekuru towards establishing MIPI legal status. Eric holds an MSc. in Wildlife Biology from Clemson University with a focus in community conservation, and a BSc. from Moi University.

close

Getachew Mengestie

IP Consultant

Getachew Mengistie

IP Consultant

Getachew was the first Director General of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO). When Light Years IP designed the Ethiopian Fine Coffee Initiative in 2004, Getachew led the Ethiopian side, collaborating with Ron Layton and establishing a solid friendship. Getachew is currently working as an Intellectual Property consultant, training and assisting a number of African countries with their Intellectual Property policies and regulations.

close

Isaac Tialolo

Maasai Elder and Chairman Maasai Initiative

Isaac Tialolo

Isaac is a respected Maasai elder and businessman, with years of experience working with Maasai communities and managing their public affairs in Kenya. He works with local herders to help outsource their livestock to better markets, restock after drought devastation, and gain access to veterinary care services for their livestock. He has worked previously with SNV International (snvworld.org), representing the pastoralist Maasai communities living around Lake Naivasha, Kenya, in a joint project to conserve and manage this East African, fresh-water lake ecosystem. Isaac now works as Chairman of the LYIP Maasai Initiative.

close

Bonnie Ole Keis

Project Management and Research Trainee

Bonnie Ole Keis

Bonnie is a third year student at the University of Nairobi. He studies for a Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science and Bachelor Arts Economics and Public Administration.

He has practical experience in community development work, research, and project management. He volunteered in various internationally sponsored and affiliated projects in Maasai Districts in Kenya.

He has volunteered, taken part in internships, and worked with several companies, non-profit organizations, and NGOs in Kenya which includes work at the Pastoralist Development Network of Kenya (PDNK - www.pdnkenya.org), Mid-Rift Tourism Forum, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Kenya (TJRC), and the Letangule and Company Advocates and Legal Consultants.

close

Who we are

Light Years IP is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by assisting developing country producers gain ownership of their intellectual property and to use the IP to increase their export income and improve the security of that income.

What we do

We assist producers, exporters, and governments in the developing world to analyse their export potential with respect to identifying the value of intangibles and then using IP tools, such as patents, trademarks and licenses, to secure more sustained and higher export income. The ownership of IP is secured in market countries through the existing legal frameworks of the developed world.

Why we're here

We are pioneering an IP solutions approach to help developing world producers identify and own their intellectual property. We believe IP offers a business strategy that can help developing countries increase their income, improve the security of that income, and alleviate poverty.