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WIPO and INTA Sign MOU Committing to Provide IP-related Legal Services to Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurs

May 12, 2021

WIPO and the International Trademark Association (INTA) enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in which INTA commits to provide pro bono legal services to indigenous and local community SMEs and entrepreneurs for issues related to intellectual property (IP).

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, WIPO and the International Trademark Association (INTA) held a virtual MOU signing ceremony. The signing of the MOU between the two organizations highlights the continued commitment by INTA to provide support to indigenous and local community SMEs and entrepreneurs by assisting them in scaling up and expanding their businesses through the effective use of IP rights. The legal services would not necessarily be limited to trademark issues and could, for example, cover registration, opposition, and infringement proceedings.

Photo: WIPO. Mr. Daren Tang, Director General of WIPO and Ms. Tiki Dare, President of INTA hold up their signed copies of the MOU during the virtual signing ceremony on May 5, 2021.

Mr. Daren Tang, Director General of WIPO, welcomed those attending the signing ceremony by remarking on the importance of entering into the agreement with INTA, a trusted and like-minded partner, as a new chapter in the ongoing collaboration between the two organizations.

I now have the pleasure of signing this MOU together with the [INTA] leadership to formalize this collaboration, and I am confident that together we will make the IP system more accessible to indigenous and local community entrepreneurs. Making strategic use of IP tools in their businesses, such as designs connected to packaging, or trademarks connected to marketing, these are key elements to helping community-based IP, such as traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, which will, ultimately, support sustainable prosperity for indigenous entrepreneurs and their communities. In this context, we’re not just helping individual entrepreneurs, but because of the nature of the work, we are helping the communities, as well.

Mr. Daren Tang, Director General, WIPO

Director General Tang’s remarks were immediately followed by Ms. Tiki Dare, President of INTA, who concurred with the merits of the partnership on the tremendous potential of the WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program to help indigenous peoples and local communities around the globe through the advancement and protection of IP rights.

It is a great pleasure to formally build on the decades-long and productive relationship between our two organizations. This MOU builds on our successful past cooperation with WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division. [The Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program] is a wonderful cause, and one that INTA has the capacity and resources to effectively support. Our Indigenous Rights Committee and other relevant committees are ready to contribute to the success of this MOU.

Ms. Tiki Dare, President, INTA

For more information on the WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program, sign up for our Traditional Knowledge Updates.

Background of the WIPO-INTA MOU

INTA and WIPO have had a successful and valuable partnership over the past few years that now also goes beyond the conventional trademark realm. This is the case, in particular, in the context of the WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program, organized by WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division.

The Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program aims to assist indigenous and local community SMEs and entrepreneurs in making strategic and effective use of IP tools in their businesses. It also aims foster sustainable prosperity for indigenous entrepreneurs and their communities by encouraging innovation and creativity related to their traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

As part of its collaboration with WIPO, INTA will provide volunteers from among its global membership to participate in the WIPO Training, Mentoring and Match-Making Program for Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs, a woman-focused program under the umbrella of the Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program.

These programs contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, including the implementation of many of the Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as gender equality, decent work and economic growth, poverty eradication, reduced inequalities, and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

Links to further information related to the WIPO-INTA MOU