49TH GENERAL ASSEMBLIES OF THE MEMBER STATES OF WIPO, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 29 SEPTEMBER 2011
Statement by Mr. Ivan Pomaleu, Managing Director of the Investment Promotion Authority, Government of Papua New Guinea on the Occasion of the 49th General Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO
May I, on behalf of my delegation, congratulate you on your election as the Chairman of the Assemblies? I also convey my delegation's thanks to the outgoing Chairman, for his outstanding stewardship as Chair of the Assemblies for the past two years.
We further thank the Director General Dr Francis Gurry and his staff for the hard work as exemplified by the outstanding report he presented yesterday.
The Government of Papua New Guinea acknowledges the invaluable assistance from WIPO in promoting and encouraging the protection of intellectual property rights in our country.
I would like to just highlight a few developments that have taken place in Papua New Guinea, in the IP arena which have come about largely through the undivided support of WIPO.
Through WIPO's technical assistance, we now have an automated system for the granting of trademark, patent and industrial designs. We note that we are the only one out of the small pacific island countries who is using IPAS. It has proven be very useful considering the rate of development in IP. Given our move into regional trademarks administration, this standardized platform will be of benefit to other pacific island countries.
Papua New Guinea has recently finalized its National IP Plan. This project began in 2009 was completed just this year. Again technical experts through the assistance of WIPO have made this possible. Its significance is that it embraces our development agenda which reflects both the Millennium Development Goals and elements of the IP development agenda. The strategies that will be employed will specifically address increased awareness levels promoting creativity and innovation. It also seeks to strengthen the enforcement systems. We are delighted with this development and look forward to having the development plan adopted by the Government and implemented in the coming year.
Papua New Guinea is leading the charge in developing the Regional Trade Marks Examination Body for the Pacific Islands. In the works since 2006, we have now concluded Regional discussions on a Memorandum of Understanding, which if signed by three countries of the Pacific will establish the Pacific Islands Regional Trade Marks Examination Office in Papua New Guinea, commencing as early as next year. We acknowledge the support that Australia and New Zealand have provided in designing the mechanism, and of course WIPO's support in allowing the PNG team to conduct a study tour of three different systems, the Madrid, Benelux and ARIPO systems. Our efforts in the region reflect PNG's intention to see to it that our neighbors benefit from technical assistance, training and development in this area.
Papua New Guinea is in the region which presents social, economic, natural, traditional complexities requiring policy, legal and economic decision makers to exercises sensitivities at every level, while at the same time accord the necessary respect to our international obligations. Issues such as enforcement of IP breaches, adequate protection mechanisms for IP owners, gelling of all applicable legislation are but a few of those issues. It requires a government that is willing to commit to development of IP which is very applicable and relevant in PNG.
Given this situation, the Government of Papua New Guinea is committed to working closely with WIPO and other international partners in developing the National IP Development Plan that will take these issues into consideration and realistically map the way forward for the country in IP development.
Papua New Guinea is part of the Pacific Region. However for the most part, IP does not sit as an important priority for the governments of the region. This presents challenges considering that the Pacific region is endowed with biological resources and rich in traditional art, cultural expressions and folklore. In the absence of proper legal and administrative framework for intellectual property rights protection in nearly all the island countries, we have not been able to protect their intellectual property, obtain maximum benefits from creativity and innovative activities and this has affected our full participation in trade and investment activities.
IPR infringement issues are also of great concern to us. All our member countries are facing a huge challenge with the increasing activities of piracy and counterfeiting. The importation, reproduction and sale of pirated and counterfeit goods are widespread throughout the Pacific region. It is so rampant now that the negative impacts are being immediately experienced by the business communities and the consuming public. If these issues are not addressed effectively, it poses a serious threat to the countries' economic and social development.
The respective governments of the Pacific Island Countries have acknowledged that we need to be more responsive to these intellectual property right issues. This should not only be done through legislative and policy reforms but also establishing effective IPR protection and enforcement systems. This requires adequate resources and capacity building for the relevant stakeholder organizations including the IP Offices.
This gave rise to this milestone decision to create a Regional Trade Marks Examination Body for the Pacific Islands. This is the first step of many steps to come. Given the development on the Pacific Regional Mechanism, we would like to work closely with WIPO and other developed members in building capacity of our IP offices in the Pacific.
With this few remarks, I again would like to convey our sincere appreciation to the WIPO and wish all distinguished delegates of the member states fruitful discussions during this series of meetings.