Agreement Establishes Funds-in-Trust Program with Italy

Geneva, September 11, 2007

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Massimo D'Alema, signed an agreement in Rome on September 10, 2007, which strengthens Italy’s commitment to consolidate and reinforce its contribution to the activities of WIPO. The agreement formalizes Italy’s long-standing support of WIPO’s activities relating to economic development, and makes Italy one of the largest contributors of extra budgetary resources to WIPO.
Dr. Idris and Mr. D’Alema signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which establishes a funds-in-trust (FIT) program to cover intellectual property (IP) related activities in developing countries. The agreement prioritizes the promotion of economic and commercial activities based on IP, the relationship between IP and technological development, the development of creative industries, the use of IP by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the protection of geographical indications (GIs), industrial designs, IP training, and the fight against counterfeiting and audiovisual piracy. While the FIT agreement is aimed at all developing countries, special emphasis will be placed on assistance to least developed countries (LDCs) and countries in the Mediterranean area.
Dr. Idris said “WIPO is very grateful to the Government of Italy for this act of generosity and its foresight in supporting capacity building in developing countries.” He added “This FIT will be dedicated to helping developing countries to capitalize on the tools of the intellectual property system to promote economic, social and cultural development.” This current contribution builds on the significant financial support already provided by Italy to a number of WIPO programs. The Director General expressed appreciation for the important role played by Italy at WIPO.  Italy is also one of the major users of WIPO’ services to the private sector, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Madrid system for the international registration of trademarks.
Last July, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) pledged 300,000 Euro for a joint post-graduate program in IP offered by the WIPO Worldwide Academy, the University of Turin and the International Labour Organisation, International Training Center (ILO-ITC).  First launched in 2000, the annual Master of Laws (LLM) in Intellectual Property program seeks to train trainers of intellectual property in order to bolster the protection of IP rights in both developed and developing countries. Since its establishment, this joint Masters program has trained over 190 students from more than 140 countries.
Further financial contributions to this FIT agreement will be made by the High Commission for the Fight Against Counterfeiting, Italy’s National Patent and Trademark Office, and the National Society of Authors and Composers (SIAE), Italy’s collective management society.  The fund may also channel contributions from the Italian private sector.
Mr. Vittorio Craxi, Under-Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), Mr. Giovanni Kessler, Italy’s High Commissioner for the Fight Against Counterfeiting, Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, Italy’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Mr. Giandomenico Magliano, Director of the Economic Affairs Department, MFA, Professor Mauro Masi, Italian Delegate for IP, MFA, , Mrs. Ludovica Agrò, Director General of Italy’s Patent and Trademark Office, Mr. Giorgio Assumma, President of SIAE, and Mr. Enzo Mazza, President, Italian Federation of Musical Industries, also attended the signing ceremony in Rome.
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