World Intellectual Property Organization

Funds-In-Trust Korea

September 2007

At the annual evaluation and programming meetings in July, WIPO and the Korean representatives reviewed activities and renewed the work plan. (Photo: WIPO/ N. Hopkins-Hall)
At the annual evaluation and programming meetings in July, WIPO and the Korean representatives reviewed activities and renewed the work plan. (Photo: WIPO/ N. Hopkins-Hall)

The Funds-in-Trust (FIT) provided by the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) are one example which illustrate the value that partnerships and extrabudgetary funding can add to WIPO’s work with developing countries. Projects funded by some other major FIT donors will be highlighted in forthcoming editions of the WIPO Magazine.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is party to two cooperation arrangements with WIPO under the FIT scheme: the first, covering industrial property-related projects, was set up by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) in 2004; the second, covering copyright-related activities, by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) last year. Since their inception, these funds have financed a total of 28 activities in support of 50 developing and least developed countries (LDCs). 

Sharing experience

A distinctive feature of the activities funded under the Korean FIT agreements is the opportunity they provide for developing countries to share the experience and achievements of the Republic of Korea over the last 20 years in using IP as a tool to achieve national development objectives. The Korean arrangements are also notable for their flexibility. - No geographical limitations are imposed on the use of the KIPO funds, which are open to proposals from any Member States that would contribute toward the effective deployment of the resources.   

The FIT arrangement with KIPO places special emphasis on support for LDCs in all regions. Projects last year, for example, included setting up an IP information center in Tanzania; with a similar center currently being established in Cambodia. It has also funded a workshop on public outreach strategies for LDCs. 

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A sub-regional workshop on arbitration and mediation of IP disputes at the KIPO training institute, IIPTI - formally designated as a WIPO partner institution for international IP training in 2006. (Courtesy of IIPTI)

Other major activities included:

  • Deploying PCT-ROAD software to facilitate the procedures of PCT receiving offices in developing countries.
  • Supporting SMEs by translating and customizing IP-related materials and providing expert consultations.
  • Providing workshops and materials to encourage the use of patent information
  • Arranging consultations with experts on IP valuation, innovation promotion, commercialization and IP asset management.
  • Running interactive sessions on the use of the PCT and the Madrid System
  • Holding international seminars and workshops on emerging IP issues in cooperation with KIPO’s training arm, the International Intellectual Property Training Institute (IIPTI).

The MCT-sponsored FIT has undertaken several new initiatives, such as developing an in-service course on the economics of creative industries and creating on CD-ROM a guide to establishing a collecting society, including model contracts and guidelines.

Next phase

The 2007-2008 work plans of the FIT arrangements include, on the industrial property side, workshops, advisory missions and studies aimed at helping IP offices to increase the efficiency of their services, with expanded support to African and Eastern European countries. On the copyright side, the work plan includes a regional symposium on user generated content, a project aimed at compiling case law in music copyright, a sub-regional workshop on the development of copyright based industries and the production of audiovisual information material.

 

Report by Tae-Geun Kim and Won-Sun Lim, WIPO Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Sector

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