World, regional intellectual property reps received at State House | 02 July 2019
A delegation comprising key officials of the world and regional intellectual property organisation who are in the country for a high level three-day education and awareness meetings and seminar, were yesterday morning received by President Danny Faure at State House.
The delegation comprises the director general of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) Fernando dos Santos, Intellectual Property (IP) law consultant and attorney Getachew Mengistie and programme officer for the regional bureau for Africa of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) Julieta Nhane.
Registrar general Wendy Pierre and other key officials from the trade division led the delegation on its visit to State House.
Speaking to the press after meeting President Faure, registrar general Pierre said it was an opportunity to discuss the different help and support the two organisations can give Seychelles to help develop its intellectual property (IP) framework. This could be in the form of capacity building for our people as well as technical help to review our laws.
Ms Pierre added that while we are encouraging more Seychellois to do their own business and come up with new products and services through innovative ideas, we have realised that the framework was being overlooked. But she noted that though very technical, IP laws are very important and more education and awareness is crucial for our people to protect their innovations and creations and for Seychelles as a country to safeguard and protect its heritage and interests.
“The president has welcomed the delegation because he believes it’s an opportune time for us to relook at what we have in terms of laws and human capacity and develop them further,” said the registrar general Pierre.
With regard to Seychelles becoming a member of Aripo, last week the Cabinet of Ministers endorsed its approval of the process which has been long underway.
Mrs Pierre said the registrar general’s office together with the trade division in the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning will make the most of the delegation’s visit to iron out discussions in crucial areas for Seychelles to develop its IP sector.
For his part Mr Dos Santos described his delegation’s meeting with President Faure as very fruitful and noted that he Seychellois head of State highlighted the different challenges Seychelles is facing in its effort to protect and preserve its unique natural and cultural heritage from external exploitation with no benefit for the country.
“Aripo and Wipo have the legal tools/instruments to assist Seychelles to tap into those important products to bring advantages for its people. We are also delighted to note that the government of Seychelles has already taken the decision to join Aripo because this is where we have the right platform for discussions, for right strategies and concrete actions,” Mr Dos Santos stated.
He said they brought to the attention of the President the different intellectual property rights that can be of help to add value to the country and other protection mechanisms. He added that the discussions also centred on how the country needs to make more use of the intellectual property system which would ease all the government’s effort to promote innovation, creativity, and add value to products and services.
Mr Dos Santos noted that among the major challenge countries are facing to implement intellectual property laws is a lack of clear vision as to how to take advantage of the intellectual property system, thus the urgent need to develop an intellectual property policy for Seychelles, an issue that was also discussed with President Faure.
“A national intellectual property policy will show the country’s vision, its development priorities and how intellectual property can add value to those priorities identified by the country. It is also important for the country to develop the necessary legal instrument in order to benefit from the intellectual property system,” said Mr Dos Santos.
Today the delegation in collaboration with the registrar general’s office and the trade division will host a seminar which will bring together a wide range of key stakeholders to share Wipo’s and Aripo’s mandates on IP, share Wipo’s technical cooperation tools for development, present findings of the 2017 review of the implementation of intellectual property development plan, consult with various IP stakeholders on how best to implement IP laws and establish a status quo of intellectual property in Seychelles and way forward. The seminar is taking place at the Avani hotel in Barbarons.