Sino-African Intellectual Property Forum Successfully Concluded


The First Sino-African Intellectual Property Forum, jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People's Republic of China, was successfully concluded in Beijing on May 22, 2002. Senior officials from WIPO, the African Intellectual Property Organization (French abbreviation: OAPI, Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle), the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO) and 16 African countries and nearly 100 Chinese participants attended the two-day forum.

At the opening ceremony, Vice premier Wen Jiabao delivered an opening speech, in which he said that the forum is a great move by China and African countries to promote exchanges and cooperation in the field of intellectual property in the new century. "It reflects the strong aspiration and firm belief of China and Africa to create the environment for encouraging knowledge innovation and protecting intellectual property for a better future."

He emphasized that the Chinese government attaches the utmost importance to the protection of intellectual property. After 20 years of concerted efforts since the reform and opening up, China has established a relatively complete legal system for the protection of intellectual property, which is featured of a combination of judicial and administrative enforcement. Much work has been done to protect intellectual property rights.

He pointed out that thanks to the enthusiastic proposal by its Director General, WIPO has adopted various measures to help developing countries make use of the intellectual property system in the promotion of national economic and technological development. These measures include such technical assistance as legislative guidance and staff training. In particular, the launching of the Intellectual Property and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is aimed to help developing countries to gain benefits from establishing and utilizing the intellectual property system. The Chinese government supports and thinks highly of all these efforts.

In his warm opening remarks, Dr. Idris, Director General of WIPO, expressed thanks to the Chinese government for its support and cooperation in the organization of the forum. He said he was happy to see the significant achievements scored by China in the field of intellectual property during the past two decades, and the African countries have also displayed great potential in the protection of intellectual property. He hopes that both sides will maintain the close cooperation in this field to improve their intellectual property system and hence make their due contribution to the protection of intellectual property worldwide.

The four themes of the forum are Intellectual Property and the Promotion of Economic Development, Intellectual Property and Information Technology, Challenges of the Intellectual Property System in the 21st Century, and Emerging Intellectual Property Issues. Focusing on these themes, WIPO Deputy Director General Mr. Castelo, Commissioner Wang Jingchuan and Deputy Commissioner Tian Lipu of SIPO, Commissioner Shi Zongyuan of the National Copyright Administration (NCA), and Deputy Commissioner Li Dongsheng of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) all delivered special reports, which tackled relevant issues in the intellectual property field, and carried out extensive and in-depth exchanges and discussions. The speakers also answered questions raised by the participants.

A major event during the forum is the signing of the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the World Intellectual Property Organization and the State Intellectual Property Office of China, which covers wide cooperation between WIPO and China in many intellectual property fields including patent, copyright and trademark. Dr. Idris, Director General of WIPO and Commissioner Wang Jingchuan of SIPO signed the Agreement on behalf of the two sides. The signing of the agreement marks that WIPO and SIPO, SAIC, and NCA will carry out comprehensive cooperation and exchanges, which will surely promote the development of China's intellectual property system.

The successful organization of the Sino-African Intellectual Property Forum is a milestone in the cooperation between China and Africa in the field of intellectual property, and also a major event in the field of world intellectual property. This shows that the developing countries are strengthening international cooperation and exchanges in intellectual property, actively creating an environment for knowledge innovation and protection of intellectual property, and are devoting continual efforts to the establishment of new international political and economic order.