Country Focus: Morocco's Vision 2010
Marrakech. The government has identified the tourism sector as one are that could benefit from the tools of the IP system. (Photo - courtesy Adam Bouhadma/www.villes-du-maroc.com)
The initiative by King Mohamed VI of Morocco in support of sustainable development includes the opportunity for intellectual property (IP) to contribute to economic, cultural and social development. Morocco’s economic environment is evolving fast, and the country’s policy-makers believe that a balanced, strong IP system should boost the competitiveness of Moroccan enterprises and stimulate investment. The government has identified, for example, the expanding tourism and handicraft sector as one of many areas that could benefit substantially from the tools of the IP system. Seeking to follow the path of IP success stories such as Singapore, Korea and Malaysia the government is working to develop a clear IP strategy within the framework of its national plan for development.
The Moroccan Ministry of Trade and Industry, which oversees the industrial property office, has set objectives aimed at reinforcing the ability of Morocco’s commercial and industrial sector to operate in world markets, at creating a more competitive business environment, and at attracting foreign investment. A strategic plan, "Vision 2010 for Industrial Property and Commerce," drawn up by the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office (OMPIC – Office marocain de la propriété industrielle et commerciale) sets out how these objectives are to be reached, and an industrial property culture created in Moroccan enterprises.
OMPIC performs similar task and services to most industrial property offices, registering and issuing titles for patents, trademarks and industrial designs as well as company names. It has a "front-office" with individual specialized booths to respond to clients and process files in each of these areas. However, OMPIC is also responsible for the broader strategic objectives of promoting the industrial property system and for implementation of the Vision 2010 plan.
Vision 2010 addresses five main areas: the legal environment, innovation and monitoring technology, marketing and communication, and organizational structure and human resources. It is a two-phase plan, the first phase runs from 2005 to 2007 and second will run from 2008 to 2010.
The plan sets specific performance indicators in terms of industrial property titles, which enable OMPIC to gauge the effectiveness of its actions and to make corrections where necessary. The performance indicators include:
- Patents – an increase in applications of 20 percent per year, of which 40 percent would be national applications. Thus reaching the goal of 1,500 applications per year in 2010.
- Trademarks – a growth of 12 percent per year, of which 80 percent would be national, to reach 10,000 registered marks in the national registry for 2010.
- Industrial designs – a growth of 20 percent per year, of which 90 percent would be national, to reach 1,000 deposits of industrial designs by 2010.
In order to achieve its goals, OMPIC seeks cooperation with other industrial property offices in addition to its cooperation with WIPO. In the first phase of Vision 2010, OMPIC is working on its five defined action areas with the European Patent Office, the French National Institute of Industrial Property, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office and the Turkish Patent Institute. This cooperation has permitted the creation of national awareness programs and the organization of workshops to train OMPIC’s personnel, its partners and local enterprises. This sustained effort has already contributed favorably to the development of industrial property in Morocco as reflected in the performance indicators.
OMPIC has further extended its cooperation activities to include professional business associations. This partnership aims at assisting businesses to develop, register and use industrial property, as proclaimed by its slogan, OMPIC – A partner for your success.
Drawing from PCT/WO/2004/033240 filed by Nadia Khaoulani of Casablanca. For "Vehicle cover for protection against the heat. " Morocco joined the PCT in 1999.
An early success for Vision 2010 was the extension of OMPIC’s online services. OMPIC automated the management of industrial property registrations in its offices in 1998 and soon after made it possible to conduct online searches for prior art in patent applications, or prior trademark or industrial design registrations (see www.ompic.org.ma). Now, OMPIC has added an online trademark filing facility to increase rapidity, transparency and availability, and to complement the trademark and commercial name search service it offers to Moroccan businesses.
OMPIC now also offers a wide array of other services to users at www.directInfo.ma. These include "DirectInfo Bilan", which provides access to the market and financial reports of diverse companies; "DirectInfo Entreprise", which provides company histories; and "DirectInfo Marques", which permits access to the online trademark filing system. OMPIC received the National Prize for Electronic Administration for the quality of its services.
Morocco has made great advances in modernizing and boosting its IP capacity and infrastructure in recent years, and was cited recently by WIPO Director General Kamil Idris as a model for the region. Only one year into the first phase of Vision 2010 OMPIC is seeing quantifiable results. The office aims to further increase cooperation and is proactively seeking new partners.
|Kingdom of Morocco|
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, located in North Africa. It borders on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlas Mountains divide the country in two. Most of the population lives northwest of the mountains, which separate them the Sahara Desert, which covers the country’s southeast and is sparsely populated and economically unproductive.
Morocco has signed Free Trade Agreements with the European Union (to take effect 2010) and the United States of America (entered into force in January 2006). Its main export and import partners are European. The country is dependent on foreign energy.