Enforcement Advisory Body Addresses Key Questions Relating to Intellectual Property

Geneva, July 1, 2004
Press Updates UPD/2004/227

The key role of the judiciary in the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) was at the heart of discussions at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) in Geneva from June 28 to 30, 2004.

Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, welcomed discussions by member states to reinforce the role of the judiciary in enforcement. "The importance of enforcement of intellectual property rights and the role of the judiciary cannot be understated," Dr. Idris said. He added "For true economic, social and cultural development to occur, intellectual property must play a crucial role; for IPRs to play that role they must be enforced throughout society."

The ACE was set up by WIPO member states in 2002 as a forum for discussion of enforcement matters with a mandate to provide technical assistance and coordination, cooperation and the exchange of information on questions of enforcement. Member states agreed on the importance of enforcement and underlined the value of the Committee as a forum for discussion and exchange of national experiences to promote better understanding of enforcement issues. Some 143 representatives from 62 member states, 3 inter-governmental organizations, and 13 non-governmental organizations attended the meeting which was chaired by Mr. Henry Olsson, Special Government Advisor, Ministry of Justice of Sweden.

A series of presentations by top judges and senior government officials from around the world were delivered during the 3-day meeting which examined the role of the judiciary, quasi-judicial authorities and the prosecution in enforcement activities; parallels between civil and common law legal systems; administrative procedures in the enforcement of IPRs; criminal procedures and sanctions; and various national experiences.

Given the pivotal role of the judiciary in the enforcement of IPRs, the Committee agreed on the global importance of continued judicial training and specialization in the field of intellectual property and on the need to raise awareness of IP enforcement issues at all levels of the judiciary.

A range of key questions relating to IPR enforcement were discussed by the Committee, including civil and criminal actions and remedies, the determination of damages in different legal systems, and ways to reduce IP litigation costs – a fundamental concern for an effective IP enforcement system. On the question of reducing litigation costs, the Committee discussed the importance of effective case management by the judiciary, the integration of mediation procedures within judicial structures, the streamlining of procedures in IP litigation and the role of quasi-judicial administrative procedures. The Committee also emphasized the important role played by right holders in obtaining evidence and identifying infringing goods.

At its next session in June 2005, it was agreed that the Committee will cover the issue of education and awareness-building, including training, in all areas of enforcement, with a particular focus on areas of common concern as reflected in requests for assistance in this area by member states.

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