Windhoek, Namibia The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) held a conference at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort from November 15 to 17; invitees included Namibian Government officials, Police and Customs officers, Namibian museum and theater managers and small business owners from the area working in the cultural sphere whose business models could be enhanced or complemented by using intellectual property laws.
The first day of the conference drew heavily on the expertise of Professor Christine Farley from the Washington College of Law at American University; she focused on an overview of intellectual property laws on the international platform. Other speakers introduced the audience to the role of IP in marketing and selling cultural goods. The second day of the conference focused more narrowly on a variety of individual IP issues in the culture arena, including geographic indications, traditional knowledge, trademark usage, certification marks and successful culture-based enterprises that have used a combination of tactics to achieve a strong, recognizable brand.
Conference attendees taking notes
The final day of the conference looked at the issue of enforcing IP rights. United States Patent and Trademark Office Attorney Advisor Darren Pogoda spoke about negative consequences of IP theft, civil and criminal aspects of IP laws and went over a case study where a variety of elements from the previous days played a part in the outcome. Mr. Moses Moses, from Namibia’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also spoke to the audience about some provisions in Namibia’s copyright law and how they are applied. The diverse audience participated actively in the discussions that ensued after several of the presentations and the interactive format provided a preliminary platform for further discussions amongst them regarding the current status of IP laws and practices in Namibia and how to best utilize them for local economic growth.