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WIPO DG And Bulgarian President Hold Talks

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

10 July 2007

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr Kamil Idris and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, met in in Sofia last week to discuss the dynamism of the creative industries sector, and its potential to generate employment and promote trade and wealth creation.

Discussions also underlined the strategic importance of intellectual property in the development of both the creative industries sector and the national economy in general.

During his visit, Dr Idris also met other high-ranking officials, including Stefan Danaliov, Bulgaria’s Minister of Culture, Kostadin Manev, President of the Patent Office of Bulgaria and Liubomir Kyuchukov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to review existing cooperation between the Organization and Bulgaria.

In the talks with President Parvanov, Dr. Idris welcomed the expanding cooperation between WIPO and Bulgaria, which has in recent years included activities to promote the strategic use of IP for development, capacity building programs, technical and legal assistance, and public outreach. They emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in raising public awareness of the critical importance of intellectual property to development.

The Director General applauded Bulgaria’s efforts to use the intellectual property system for wealth creation, and welcomed efforts by the Government of Bulgaria to enhance the development of the country’s intellectual property infrastructure, including, in particular, in the field of intellectual property legislation. He further commended national efforts to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights.

WIPO has pledged to further support research and capacity building programs in the following areas: the fight against copyright piracy, the training of creators in the management of their intellectual property assets, awareness-raising activities for the judiciary, and educational programs for students.

In light of the wealth of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage, the Director General also reaffirmed the Organization’s support for a project aimed at protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of Bulgaria.

Dr Idris additionally presented the results of a comprehensive study on the economic contribution of Bulgaria’s creative industries, which showed the enormous potential of the sector as a driver of the country’s economy.

The WIPO study, initiated in July 2006 in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, showed that during the period 2003-2005, the creative sector exceeded the national average rate of economic growth and grew by some 50%. In 2005, Bulgaria’s creative industries accounted for 4.51% of the gross output of the country and 3.42% of the gross value added.

In terms of employment, the study further illustrated that copyright industries employed some 105,000 people, representing 4.3% of the total employment in the country. Over a three-year period the employment growth rate in this sector was more than triple the national average rising to 13.3% as compared to the national average of 3.5%. This sector generates more jobs than hotels and restaurants and agriculture sectors.

The leading copyright industries in Bulgaria are the publishing industry, software and databases, radio and television, motion pictures and video, music, and visual arts. While book publishing and software and databases are the two largest copyright-based industries, the greatest growth is registered in production and distribution of motion pictures and video – which has tripled in the past three years, registering a growth rate of 166%.

The second most dynamic growth area is software and databases – which registered 93% growth in that period, followed by architecture, which grew in terms of value added by 81%, and in terms of employment by 16% in that same period.

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