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WIPO Meeting Discusses Criminal Enforcement Of IP Rights

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

13 November 2007

The effectiveness of enforcing intellectual property (IP) rights under criminal law was the focus of discussions at a recent meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) in Geneva.

The ACE was set up by WIPO member states in 2002 as a forum for discussion of enforcement matters, with a mandate to cooperate with other intergovernmental organizations and the private sector to combat counterfeiting and piracy activities; undertake public education; provide assistance to member states on request; to coordinate national and regional training programs for all relevant stakeholders; and to facilitate the exchange of information on enforcement issues.

The Committee heard presentations on the criminal enforcement of IP laws in various jurisdictions, and considered issues such as the scope and definition of IP crimes, investigation and initiation of criminal proceedings, jurisdiction, means of streamlining proceedings, evidentiary issues, sentencing options and level of penalties.

“This session of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement has been extremely useful in identifying opportunities for improved coordination and cooperation among stakeholders to streamline criminal enforcement issues”, announced Dr Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, following the meeting.

He continued: “The obvious commitment of all member states to join forces in developing effective strategies to counter these insidious problems of counterfeiting and piracy is most welcome."

The Committee agreed that it should continue to provide a platform for the exchange of country experiences. The Chairman, Hassan El-Badrawi, Assistant Minister of Justice for Parliamentary Affairs in Egypt, invited representatives of the different regional groups to continue consultations on possible themes for discussion in its next session, and to submit proposals to the WIPO Secretariat by the end of February 2008.

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