Attorney General – Hon. Patrice Nisbett
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 27, 2012 (CUOPM)
Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett says the protection of Intellectual Property Rights is necessary in order to encourage production of inventions and creative works that benefit society, and to help innovators and creators make a living from their work.
“These rights, which can belong to individuals or organizations, are recognized by governments and courts. The system is designed to benefit society as a whole, striking a delicate balance to ensure that the needs of both the creator and the user are satisfied. This balance is maintained through checks within the intellectual property system itself and in the larger regulatory framework, to ensure that the system is sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders,” said Mr. Nisbett in an address to mark Intellectual Property Rights Day.
Addressing the theme: “Intellectual Property: Innovation and Creativity,” Attorney General Nisbett noted that Intellectual property has been recognized as being unique as it is the fruit of individual creation and inventiveness.
“IP may be a mother’s invention for a non-spill cup for babies, a Picasso painting, a new method of irrigation, invention of a light bulb, computer chip, to name a few. Today, everyone in society is a user and a potential creator of intellectual property. The protection of intellectual property, through a system of national and international rules called intellectual property rights, is necessary to provide incentives and financing for innovation and creation, which in turn lead to economic, cultural and social progress. Further, protection for intellectual property encourages the production and dissemination of knowledge and a wide range of quality goods and services. IP rights add value for consumers and can provide a guarantee of source and quality,” he said.
Mr. Nisbett pointed out that Intellectual property protection contributes to economic growth in both developed and developing countries by stimulating innovation, cultural diversity and technical development as part of a larger policy framework. Intellectual property rights, if properly used, can also be key tools for the alleviation of poverty through trade, and in virtually every instance, intellectual property stimulates progress, transformation of society and adding value to our lives.
“The immense adverse economic and social impact of intellectual property theft requires that combating counterfeiting and piracy become a priority for society, and not just property right holders. Failure to do so means that society will not reap its benefits,” he added.
He said the intellectual property rights system also provides incentives to innovators to produce new inventions and creations.
“This in turn provides incentives society with a steady stream of innovations that fuel economic, cultural and social progress, help to alleviate poverty and disease, and enrich our cultural heritage. IP rights enable people to benefit from their innovations and creative work, and to prevent others from copying or unfairly gaining from the innovator’s creativity and investment. By according these rights, society provides an incentive for people and organizations to invest time, resources and original thinking to develop innovative products and technologies and expand knowledge and culture,” the Attorney General said.
New creations and inventions do benefit everyone. For instance, technologies and creations that have touched and changed millions of lives would probably not exist today without the incentives provided by intellectual property rights.
“Innovation, creativity, cultural diversity and technological development contribute to economic growth. This is all the more true as knowledge ““ based industries increase in importance to the economy, particularly as creators of employment. Innovation is the most important vector of sustainable growth for businesses, and of economic prosperity for society as a whole; and businesses must constantly improve or renew their products and services if they wish to keep or capture market shares and remain competitive,” said Attorney General Nisbett, pointing out that it was important to note that the intellectual property system was an important catalyst for the development of indigenous technology by Korean companies, several of which have become global market leaders today.
“However, by its very nature, intellectual property is less tangible than physical capital and, it is more vulnerable to theft. Counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property is growing rapidly and, collectively, the wider economic, social and developmental costs are much more damaging than may be currently understood. A disorder of this magnitude not only discourages innovation and introduces health and safety risks, but creates a significant drain on the global economy thereby undermining economic development, a sound market economy system and an open international trade and investment,” he said.
He stressed the need for increased public and political awareness of the economic and social harm associated with counterfeiting and piracy activities and for government’s action and encouraged the allocation of resources toward improved IPR enforcement.
“There is created an environment in which IP is respected and protected,” said the Attorney General.