Economics of public health, proprietary software rights and copyright awareness in West Africa considered highest priorities by U.S. government.

Washington, DC – The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), an intellectual property development organization and think tank, announced the funding of more than $1 million in activities for their intellectual property technical assistance programs, research projects and policy and education forums. In conjunction with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), IIPI will proceed with eight primary projects and up to nine secondary projects in collaboration with USPTO during 2003 and 2004.

“With support from the USPTO, IIPI can continue development projects started last year in developing nations like Vietnam and Jordan,” says IIPI president Bruce A. Lehman. “The funding also enables us to undertake several new and exciting projects designed to help people in developing nations understand the power of intellectual property as a mechanism to stimulate development, promote cultural expression and improve health.”

The list of IIPI-USPTO cooperative agreement projects for fiscal year 2003 includes:

* Organizing and hosting an international conference explaining the economic development benefits of the intellectual property rights system in the area of public health to be held in conjunction with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C., this October.
* Producing an international conference focusing on the advantages of the proprietary software business model to stimulate national information industries.
* Providing hands-on training in several West African countries on the development of programs to promote and encourage the creation, protection, licensing and distribution of artistic works.
* Conducting seminars in Jordan and Vietnam on intellectual property business and policy issues.
* Coordinating a series of roundtable discussions on topics of concern to developing countries such as anti-piracy issues and intellectual property as a means of commerce.

“Programs on copyright education, public awareness and enforcement in West Africa are a new addition to IIPI’s global efforts,” notes executive director Stetson Sanders. “We will be working with policymakers, artists and entrepreneurs in countries like Senegal, Ghana and Guinea later this year. This project complements the White House’s plan to help Africa build an environment for technology-led development in Islamic countries.”

The IIPI-USPTO cooperative projects will begin immediately. Technical assistance programs in Jordan, Thailand and Vietnam are scheduled for this summer.