The Slovenia Times

WIPO to help Slovenia with intellectual property protection

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Slovenia is currently in the process of drawing up its first national strategy for the protection of intellectual property, which is expected to be adopted next year. The UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has offered help with the preparations.

In Ljubljana on 25 September for talks with Economy Minister Matjaž Han and Karin Žvokelj, head of Slovenia's Intellectual Property Office, WIPO director general Daren Tang said that intellectual property could contribute to growth, job creation and efforts to attract investment.

All three officials underlined the importance of the strategy, which they say will contribute to a better understanding of and respect for intellectual property rights and hence to the improvement of the environment for the development of innovation and a competitive economy.

"Merely an idea is not enough. It needs to be put into practice, brought to market, protected and marketed. And it is intellectual property rights such as trademarks, designs and patents that offer legal protection against other market players," Minister Han said.

Intellectual property gives value to innovation, he stressed, adding that intellectual property rights were part of the intangible assets of companies, which increased the value of investments and boosted competitiveness.

Tang called for a change in the way intellectual property is treated. It should not exist for its own sake, it should be a means to an end, he said. The goal is that those who register patents, trademarks or designs will also take their products to the market.

Intellectual property is not just something that takes place in an industrial context, it is also linked to culture, to life in general, the WIPO director general noted, pointing to examples such as Slovenian basketball star Luka Dončić and his brand, or the protected Idrija lace.

"A well-functioning and balanced system of the protection of intellectual property rights can foster innovation and creativity, thereby stepping up economic growth and societal progress," said Žvokelj, who would like to see the national strategy have a positive impact on awareness raising and protection in general. She expects the strategy to be completed by the end of June next year.

Tang also held talks with President Nataša Pirc Musar and National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič. He visited the Jožef Stefan Institute, where he took part in a debate on intellectual property and commercialisation.

One of the 15 specialized agencies of the UN, WIPO has 193 member countries. Slovenia has been a member since 1992.

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