Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds and intellect. The creator of innovative or artistic work is given exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
The Intellectual Property Office believes that the Law Enforcement Agencies should play an important part in enforcing intellectual property rights hence the need for the workshop.
Mrs. Claudette Jenkins, Registrar of the St. Kitts-Nevis Intellectual Property Office, stated that right holders need to know that their intellectual property is protected. Once this sense of security is achieved, they would feel more confident to express their creative ideas and art form, which is important for the economic, social and cultural development of the Federation.
The Hon. Mr Justice Harms, former Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal and Professor of Intellectual Property (IP), University of Pretoria, South Africa, added that the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights is important.
“There are many reasons why it is important,” Mr. Harms said. “Intellectual Property Rights protect health, taxes, custom duties and more. It is important from the aspect of prevention of organized crime and it attracts foreign investment,” said Mr. Harms.
Ms Louise Van Greunen, WIPO Director of Building Respect for Intellectual Property Division, noted that the workshop not only created public awareness but it also provided basic training for law enforcement officials. She added that effective Intellectual Property Rights protection and Enforcement can impact creativity and economic progress in the Federation.
“It really can increase foreign investors because there will be credibility in the legal system and they know that infringement of their rights would be detected and punished,” said Ms. Van Greunen. “ It is the cornerstone if you look at job creation and transfer of technology. So you have to look at the bigger picture to understand the full importance. In terms of the legal basis, in St. Kitts you can grant or register intellectual property rights but a right isn’t worth anything if it cannot be enforced.”
As a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) the Federation continues to receive valuable assistance and support in the development of its intellectual property programme.