Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
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At the ceremony held today to mark the launch, Dr. Kamil Idris,
Director General of WIPO, stated that this joint initiative was simply
an expression of commitment to least-developed countries. From
integration to participation, then to give these countries national
ownership of intellectual property protection, he stressed, was
crucial in assisting these countries. He also emphasized that
intellectual property was a tool for technological advancement,
economic growth and wealth creation for all nations, especially for
countries have until 1 January 2006 to comply with the WTO Agreement
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS
Agreement). They have to bring their laws on copyright, patents,
trademarks and other areas of intellectual property into line with the
TRIPS Agreement. They also have to provide ways of enforcing the laws
effectively, in order to deal with piracy, counterfeiting and other
forms of intellectual property infringement.
implementation of these obligations also represents an opportunity for
the world's poorest nations to harness intellectual property in order
to accelerate their economic, social, and cultural development,”
said WTO Director-General Mike Moore. “Our joint initiative, which
offers varied forms of technical assistance, will help least-developed
countries promote their developmental objectives.”
representing least-developed countries welcomed the initiative as
further evidence that both organizations are increasingly committed to
helping the world's poorest countries.
initiative builds on existing cooperation
between WIPO and WTO
and on each organization's own technical assistance programmes. It is
also similar to a joint WIPO-WTO
project launched in 1998 to help all developing countries,
particularly those that are not least developed, which had to comply
with the TRIPS Agreement by 2000.
assistance available under the joint initiative includes cooperation
with preparing legislation, training, institution-building,
modernizing intellectual property systems and enforcement. Of the 49
countries defined by the UN as least developed, 30
are members of the WTO (another six are negotiating WTO
membership) and 41 are members of WIPO. All least-developed countries
can participate in the technical assistance offered; they do not need
to be WIPO or WTO members.
initiative envisages assistance in two phases.
- In the first
phase, two regional workshops will be organized in 2002, one for
sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti, and the other for the Asia-Pacific
region. Officials from these countries will be briefed on the
basic concepts, principles and obligations of the TRIPS Agreement.
They will also be briefed on the challenges of implementing the
- In the second
phase, assistance provided will focus on action plans specific to
countries need a considerable amount of assistance in intellectual
property. This new initiative will ensure the most effective use of
available resources. It will also ensure technical assistance
activities are efficiently planned and closely coordinated between the
launching ceremony, which also involved representatives from
least-developed countries, the two Directors-General signed a joint
communication to go to all least-developed countries' governments,
informing them of the joint initiative and inviting active
participation. The communication underscores the two organizations'
commitment to help least-developed countries comply with the TRIPS
Agreement on time and to use the intellectual property system to
promote their development.
press release is being issued simultaneously by WIPO and WTO.
has 177 member States. It is based in Geneva and is responsible for
all matters related to intellectual property, including the promotion
of intellectual property protection around the world. It oversees
various international conventions, of which the Paris Convention on
the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works are the two founding
international conventions in the area of intellectual property.
has 141 members (in May 2001). It is based in Geneva and is the international
organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations.
Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly,
predictably and freely as possible. It does this by administering
multilateral trade agreements, acting as a forum for trade
negotiations and settling trade disputes.
TRIPS Agreement entered into force on 1 January 1995 at the same time
as the WTO came into being. It was one of the outcomes of the Uruguay
Round. The agreement specifies minimum standards of protection for
each of the main categories of intellectual property, building on the
main WIPO conventions. The agreement also deals with the effective
enforcement of intellectual property rights. Under the TRIPS
Agreement, developed countries had to comply with its provisions by 1
January 1996; developing countries were given an extra four years,
until 1 January 2000; least-developed countries are required to comply
by 1 January 2006 (with the possibility of an extension).