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WHAT IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS ?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to original creations of the mind. IP harnesses the power of your Creativity and Innovation which can be expressed in various forms.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are legal rights (moral and economic rights) that provide protection to creators and innovators so that they will have control over how their creations are used by others. Such exclusive rights enable the creators and owners of IP to benefit from their own creativity.
IPR enables creators and innovators to gain recognition and rewards from ownership of their inventions and creative works. IPR also encourages further innovative and creative activity which in turn, stimulates economic growth. The benefits arising from the additional creativity and innovation are considered to outweigh the costs imposed on society by IPR.
WHY IS IP IMPORTANT?
IP has been described in various publications of the World Intellectual Property Organization (‘WIPO’) as “a power tool for achieving economic growth”. IP involves the use and development of intangible assets such as Knowledge, Information, Creativity and Inventiveness. The outcome of creativity and inventiveness – new products, services, brands, designs and so forth - which can be sold locally or internationally, can be used to contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of a country.
IP can be the logo or name of your business, a new song, a new movie, a unique design process, a new elei print or tapa design, or a new invention that you create. IP rights enable you to take action to protect your new creations and innovations from being used by others without your permission.
In the context of Samoa’s economy and future development, IP has been identified as one of the Government’s Human Resource Development priorities and a key contributor to future national growth.
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR IP PROTECTION
Samoa’s legal protection for IP is provided by the Copyright Act 1998, amended in 2012 by the Copyright Amendment Act 2011 and the Intellectual Property Act 2011 which came into effect on 1st October 2012. The new suite of legislation repealed the former IP laws: Industrial Designs Act 1972, Trade Marks Act 1972 and Patents Act 1972.
The Intellectual Property Act 2011 and the Copyright Amendment Act 2011 were two of the outcomes of a Project to modernise Samoa’s IP laws, which commenced in February 2011. The Project was conducted in the context of Samoa’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with the aim of implementing the minimum standards required by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (or TRIPS Agreement).
INTERNATIONAL IP MEMBERSHIP
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides a global forum for IP services, policy formulation, information sharing and cooperation on IP matters. As a member of the WIPO and WTO, Samoa is currently a party to the following International IP Treaties and Conventions:
SAMOA’S NATIONAL IP STRATEGY (NIPS)
The National IP Strategy for Samoa (NIPS) established the necessary strategies for promoting, developing and utilising IP as a tool for economic development. The NIPS was designed in February 2012 to complement the work on modernising Samoa’s IP laws and bringing them into line with the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement.
The overall NIPS is based on the ‘Report on a National Intellectual Property Strategy for Samoa’ that was prepared by the NIPS Consultants and included feedback gathered from consultations with stakeholders. The finalised NIPS outlines four strategic goals that are supported by a number of strategic initiatives. The four strategic goals are:
Strategic Goal 1: Modernise Samoa’s IP legislative and administrative arrangements to comply with the standards set out in the TRIPS Agreement in a manner that enhances the social, cultural, economic and commercial development of Samoa and reflects Samoa’s customs and traditions.
Strategic Goal 2: Establish appropriate arrangements that are consistent with international norms, for the protection of Samoan traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, to prevent the misuse of such knowledge and expressions. Facilitate through appropriate informed consent and benefit sharing mechanisms, the commercial use of such knowledge and expressions.
Strategic Goal 3: Improve through structured government support and information programmes the capacity of Samoa’s commercial, education and research sectors to identify valuable IP and to utilise IP protection to support and enhance the development of domestic and export businesses.
Strategic Goal 4: Improve the capacity of Samoa’s music, performance and broadcasting sectors to benefit from and comply with IP protection norms. Creation of a Collective Management Organisation. Find out more