WIPO Director General Meets ASEAN Secretary General

Geneva, March 20, 2007

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, met on March 20, 2007 with the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mr. Ong Keng Yong, to review cooperation activities and discuss the best ways through which ASEAN member countries can capitalize on the intellectual property system to promote development and economic growth.

"The ASEAN countries have recognized the strategic importance of intellectual property as a tool for economic, social and cultural development. WIPO is fully committed to supporting these nations in realizing their intellectual property potential," Dr. Idris said. He noted "We are very pleased to see the positive results of our collaborative efforts." Dr. Idris added "ASEAN is an excellent example for other developing countries of the pragmatic, business-like approach to using IP to meet development objectives."

Mr. Ong confirmed ASEAN member countries’ commitment to the strategic use of IP and pointed out that ASEAN countries had seen the positive results of proactive policies relating to IP. He said that further assistance and support was required to bridge the gaps in levels of IP awareness and capacity among the ASEAN group and expressed the hope that WIPO would continue to provide tailor-made assistance to individual countries. Dr. Idris reiterated the Organization’s continued support to the ASEAN countries. They also discussed the importance of enforcement of IP rights, which is a growing priority area for all ASEAN countries. Both emphasized the need for a regular dialogue –both at executive and working levels – between WIPO and ASEAN to ensure that mutual goals are realized in a timely manner.

Cooperation between WIPO and ASEAN has in recent years expanded, and ranges from WIPO technical assistance in developing the IP infrastructure and human resources in ASEAN member countries to building capacity for utilizing and managing IP for development. WIPO assistance has been tailored to the needs and expectations of individual ASEAN countries.

Specific cooperation activities between WIPO and ASEAN include capacity building programs, in a number of areas such as development of IP system operations, IP and public interest issues, enforcement and alternative dispute settlement, and IP awareness and education.

Other activities include a number of studies of particular interest to ASEAN. Among these are studies on the economic contribution of the copyright-based industries to employment and foreign trade. A number of other empirical studies to measure the impact of IP policies and activities are also planned for the future.

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