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US Announces Support for WIPO Efforts
April 27, 2011

World Int ellectual Property Day 2011

April 27, 2011

Geneva, April 27, 2011 – On the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day Ambassador Betty E. King, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in Geneva, announced that the U.S. Department of State has awarded a grant of $50,000.00 to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which will provide matching funds, for a series of seminars and programs that will develop the skills and tool to help local authorities raise awareness about the risk of counterfeit products.  The program, to be administered by WIPO, will be carried out over the next six months in Kenya, Morocco and the Philippines.

In announcing the grant, Ambassador King emphasized the importance of building and maintaining an effective system for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights.  She noted that IP protection drives innovation and generates economic growth, adding, “Companies and entrepreneurs in both developed and developing countries spend enormous sums of capital on building brands by innovating, ensuring quality control, and through aggressive marketing.  This translates into an economic imperative for them to safeguard their investments through trademark protection.”

Highlighting the health and safety implications of counterfeit products, Ambassador King said, “Trademark infringement and counterfeiting raise very serious health and safety concerns, such as those attributed to counterfeit medicines, food, automotive parts and electrical products.”

Also addressing the event, WIPO Director for Communications John Tarpey outlined to the assembled audience of diplomats, civil society and academics the scope of work of the grant and why raising public awareness on the public health and safety risks posed by counterfeit products is so important.  He noted that one-half of all medicines sold on the Internet are counterfeit.

Tarpey explained that WIPO, working closely with the governments of Kenya, Morocco and the Philippines, will conduct a series of workshops to develop a toolkit that will help IP authorities in those countries conduct more effective outreach campaigns.   WIPO Director for Enforcement Louise Van Greunen also spoke about the need for intellectual property rights enforcement and the inherent risks to the public from counterfeit products.

World Intellectual Property Day is a day that governments and organizations have dedicated to building international awareness about the critical role that intellectual property plays in our daily lives, and to celebrate the contributions made by innovators and artists to the development of societies across the globe.

Click here for Remarks of Ambassador King on World IP Day Reception