International Development Law Organization

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are among the most complex and contentious areas of law. This is partly because they concern 'intangible assets,' and partly because they tend to polarize the debate between users of material – scientific, technological or cultural – and its originators. The patenting of naturally occurring genetic resources raises further ethical and legal quandaries; at the international level, IP is sometimes seen as pitting corporate interests against those of developing nations. Throughout its research and programming, IDLO seeks to improve and enforce the international legal framework in IP, while enabling its application in-country. We promote innovation, but also work to secure wide access to its benefits.

Judicial Training on Intellectual Property in Tunisia

A strong regime of intellectual property (IP) law is crucial for fostering increased investment and innovation in key sectors of the economy. In recent years Tunisia has focused on building and implementing a policy for attracting foreign investment. Following the adoption of the new constitution, many laws regulating the economy were revised and a new investment code was adopted. The Tunisian government has also strengthened the legal framework for protecting IP, by acceding to the majority of treaties relating to IP and passing several laws on these matters.

Protecting IP Rights in South Africa

For more than a decade, we have been working with developing and transition economies to help them comply with their obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). South Africa is the latest country to benefit from IDLO’s expertise. In October 2013, we conducted a course in Johannesburg, with the participation of representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, and other key institutions.

Promoting EU Readiness in Montenegro

In late 2010, Montenegro was officially recognized as a European Union candidate country. Two years later, formal talks opened. As Montenegro negotiates accession, IDLO has been working to expand the capacity of the country’s judiciary in commercial law, and to improve familiarity with EU standards. We have collaborated with the Judicial Training Centre (JTC), Montenegro’s only national institution dealing with the professional education of judges, and provided practical training on competition law and intellectual property.

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