Solomons look to modernise intellectual property rights law
Solomon Islands is in the process of reviewing its draft intellectual property strategy in a push to modernise the country's protection laws which date back to the early 1900s.
The Solomon Islands is in the process of reviewing its draft intellectual property strategy in a push to modernise the country's protection laws which date back to the early 1900s.
The Ministries of Justice, Tourism and Foreign Affairs are all pitching into the project with Intellectual property rights experts and a representative from the World Intellectual property organisation.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Freddy Me'esa, told Koroi Hawkins there is an urgent need to protect Solomon Islanders and their culture, traditional knowledge and practices from exploitation in this internet age.
FREDDY MEESA: Especially to update our intellectual property laws which were almost outdated, because the ones we were using were dated back to the colonial era. And they are not updated to the current situation of Solomon Islands.
KOROI HAWKINS: Why is this important for Solomon Islands in the cultural and maybe even the technical instance?
FM: It is very important because the overall strategic objective of that intellectual property rights strategy for Solomon Islands is to create, protect, manage and use intellectual property as strategic tool for the economic, social, cultural and technological development of Solomon Islands. We have some traditional artefacts or even songs and musics and dances, but they are not protected under these laws because if we want to protect them we have to design or contextualise thsoe laws relevant to Solomon Islands. This is not so. As I said earlier, most of the intellectual property legislations we have were dated back to the colonial era.
KH: And so at this stage, how close are you to implementing or turning this law into a bill or to be putting it before parliament?
FM: I think that's a very important question. In the past, successive governments have had something under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. But we must thank this Democratic Coalition for Change government under the Prime Ministership of (Manassah) Sogovare that they designed a policy which is to strengthen the national judicial and legal system and authorities within the country. What this means is that we will have more political will to drive these amendments or implementation of the strategic actions. Now with this strategic report, once it's been completed, it will be presented to the government of Solomon Islands. But our target is to... we want to join the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) convention for full participation in the WIPO activities, we want to join the Berne convention for protection of copyright and related rights. Also we want to join the Paris convention for the protection of industrial property trademark patterns and industrial designs. And also, we'd like to join the international union for the protection of new varieties of plants. Now these are very important organisations or treaties or agreements that we would like to join hopefully this year. All of them, we'd like to try and join because they are very helpful for Solomon islands as well
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