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Intellectual Property: What it is and why it needs to be protected in developing nations in the new millennium - Why IPR is necessary in developing nations in the new millennium

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Why IPR is necessary in developing nations in the new millennium

The world we are living in is changing rapidly, and it is technology that is propelling this change. It is knowledge that drives technology, and it is knowledge, in the form of intellectual property, that is the currency in this new global economy; so if developing nations are going to be able to effectively compete, they are going to have to broaden their knowledge base, and be party to multinational agreements on intellectual property.

History has shown that intellectual property systems, if implemented in the correct way, foster the cultural and technological advancement of a society. It has also shown that the individual intellectual property systems of separate states can not exist in isolation. They must exist within the framework of some sort of multinational agreement(s), which makes it easier to trade in intellectual property related goods and services, and to resolve disputes that may arise as a result of such trade.

Developing countries, while promoting intellectual property systems that are tailored to their nation’s specific needs, will have to operate within the framework of multinational agreements if they are going to be able to successfully trade in intellectual property related goods and services.

To this end, they will have to become party to the Paris and Berne conventions, PCT, WCT, and TRIPS. To compete in the global economy of the new millennium developing countries will also have to broaden their knowledge base, and one way they can do this is by developing solid educational systems in which innovation and creativity is cultivated, nurtured, and rewarded from a tender age. One idea put forward by the WIPO (2001), in their Intellectual Property Handbook, is the use of national science fairs (youth science and invention contests) to promote scientific and innovative work among young people; and the encouragement of inventors by public recognition in the form of non-material rewards such as medals and diplomas. (pg. 168) The WIPO also encourages publicly financed loans, grants and research contracts for the development of certain inventions and creations; reduced fees for patent and trademark applications; and reduced taxes for licensed patents and know-how. (pg. 167)

The governments of developing countries will definitely have an important role to play in stimulating the scientific and cultural minds of their respective societies, and having their locals profit from it. Fairs, exhibitions and festivals promoted by governments are excellent ways of stimulating local scientific and creative talent, and promoting these talents to both the local and international community. In addition, government awards in the form of medals for outstanding contributions to the local scientific and cultural community can also serve as a stimulus for scientific and cultural innovation.