Intellectual Property in Egypt

Introduction

In order to attract foreign investments, motivate innovation and creativity, the countries have to assure the investors that their intellectual property will be protected. The intellectual property laws in Egypt, particularly regarding the violation of the rights to the intellectual property remain in the problematic state. Moreover, the practice of legal protection of copyright for the videos, audiotapes, literary works, and software is weak and unpopular. According to scientific studies, Egypt is active in the production and distribution of movies and music producers.

However, the country suffers from economic losses because of piracy in the field of copyright (Maskus 3). Egypt as a developing country should invest in effective protection of the rights to intellectual property that support the economic development of the country, the ability to attract foreign investments, and the safety of consumers.

 

Currently, Egypt is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since June 1995. WTO considers the aspects of the rights to intellectual property connected with trade or transfers. The transactions in Egypt require the minimum standards for regulation of intellectual property and declared legal requirements of each member state (Kaphahn 4). The following list should be protected by law and punished in case of violations:

  1. Copyright, including the rights of performers, producers of sound records, and the broadcasting companies.
  2. Geographical signs.
  3. Industrial design.
  4. Design of an arrangement of the integrated scheme.
  5. Patents.

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Innovation and Copyright

Due to the constant innovations in the sphere of information technologies (IT), there are permanent industrial laws have been introduced to defend the ideas. In the contemporary fast-changing world, the protection of intellectual property became considerable. As for the participant country of the organization, Egypt should issue the local laws and resolutions concerning the rights to intellectual property (IPR). In addition, Egypt participates in the Parisian Agreement for Protection of Intellectual Property and the Madrid Agreement of International Registration of Trademarks. Besides, Egypt is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (Kaphahn 5). Therefore, the country should invest in supporting a viable position of protecting intellectual property.

Regarding the violations in the industry of information technologies, the Egyptian legal system today does not possess sufficient laws to fight against Internet piracy of the products and services connected by IP. Therefore, intellectual property stealing is a growing issue, as Egyptian Internet penetration increases. Egypt does not protect entertainment materials, software. The IP protection strategies will help develop the growth of Egypt and attract investments (Cornish, Llewelyn, and Aplin 1).

The international reports state that intellectual property violations in Egypt include piracy, forging trademarks, violation of geographical signs, cheating of design, and theft of trade secrets, copyrights of music, movie, software, Books. In Egypt, people face the phenomenon of mass piracy, especially concerning music, films, and books. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Egypt is the largest piracy market for books, particularly textbooks. Severe financial losses for the manufacturers are caused by hackers in Egypt, because of piracy of textbooks for higher education (International Property Law in Egypt). Moreover, campus libraries also suffer losses as the level of textbook copyright piracy is estimated at 50% in the country. Consequently, at least70,000 of Egyptian students in a year use the products of piracy (Cornish, Llewelyn, and Aplin2).

Egyptian web offers available materials and researches of stolen content in English (Cornish, Llewelyn, and Aplin 2). Book distributors regularly deliver only the limited sum of legal texts in the institutions of Egypt, and the rest of the orders are their own piracy versions. Despite the copyright violation, the prices are the same as of the official publishers. The system of the legalized copyright violation dictates additional problems for the publisher and the universities, which include prosecution of the university for the purchase of illegal copies. Additionally, the university can sue the distributor of textbooks, leading to loud cases (Cornish, Llewelyn, and Aplin 2).

Achievements of WIPO in Egypt are various. Since the start of a collaboration between Egypt and WIPO, the regional bureaus have been established. The local offices work effectively with the Global Infrastructure Sector in order to create special centers for learning. They are named Technology Innovation Support Centers, and their establishment in Egypt contributed to innovations, promotion of intellectual property laws, and transfer of the information within the frames of the Development Agenda. The bureaus focus on the practical skills in the spheres of patent drafting, transfer of technologies, licensing, etc. The latest 12 months were prominent with reviewing proposals of over 2,000 researchers and managers. In the current year, in Egypt, IP and technology educational materials are to be released for a great number of universities, colleges, other institutions. The current plan states that in Egypt, will be five technology offices that specialize in the education issue.

History of WIPO

The serious reaction towards intellectual property protection has appeared in 1873. In the same year, the prominent International Exhibition of Inventions in Vienna took place. Some inventors from different countries did not participate because they were afraid that their know-how ideas could be stolen. The event took place in Bern, Switzerland and functioned due to the Parisian and Bern agreement to protect inventors. Consequently, the agreement was named WIPO and was the direct predecessor of the Joint International Bureaus for Protection of Intellectual Property. In 1970, it became WIPO or the World Intellectual Property Organization. Recently established WIPO is an intergovernmental organization with its main office in Geneva, Switzerland (Ficsor).

WIPO is one of the oldest specialized institutions of the United Nations, which started in 1883. It was an international agreement to show the first step to protect intellectual works in various countries.

In 1974, WIPO joins the United Nations (UN), becoming a specialized institution of the organization. All member states of the UN are the WIPO members by default. Such an agreement improves intellectual property protection around the world.

In 2007, the current agenda of WIPO development was accepted. The framework for the development of the organization was developed. The agenda had to provide the international protection of both intellectual material and industrial property like inventions, trademarks (US-Egypt Business Council).

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Achievements and Roles

According to the medium-term strategic plan for 2010-2015, the organization is aimed to protect world intellectual property and advance innovations in economic, social, and cultural areas. In addition, WIPO helps the African member states to follow a strategic objective to simplify the use of the intellectual property for development. Currently, the institution cooperates with developing countries concerning each of the certain requirements, priorities, problems, and levels of development of intellectual property laws.

Adoption of the agenda development by member states of WIPO recommendations is an opportunity for the organization to take concrete and material steps to integrate the control of the intellectual property. According to recommendations of the development of the agenda, WIPO obligation to the African states is to support their national intellectual property and innovations protection (Ficsor 2).

WIPO's current strategies aim at the construction of the national capacity in the country. Particularly the plan is effective in the African region, where the priorities are African union’s (AU) ten-year program for strengthening of potential.

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Objectives of WIPO

The current goals of WIPO are briefed in the next section. The creation of the ability to improve and develop the country, practical skills, and know-how in areas is the first area of interest. The organization wants to improve the process of drawing up patents. In addition, IP and technology management and assessment of IP and financing should be completed on a regular basis. The organization's activities also deal with the marketing of IP, negotiations of licensing and transfer of technology. Moreover, WIPO presents IP offers in the sponsored contracts for research projects and other forms of partnership. Finally, classification standards for the registration of trademarks for auditors are the responsibility and goal of the institution.

WIPO also aims to establish different kinds of a technical consultation and potential strengthening of member states’ intellectual law support. Member states of WIPO use the factual patent and not the patent information for creating technologies and innovations. The centers of support (TISCs) work as the central examination point available for technical information in the respective country. During the period of preliminary work, the centers of technology and innovations function and fulfill their duties in Cote d'Ivoire, Uganda, Tanzania, San Tome, etc. Recently, a regional seminar on the support of innovations through access to technical knowledge was carried out in Ethiopia in March 2013 (US-Egypt Business Council).

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The role of WIPO lies in the development of the protection projects in the field of information technologies, strengthening the potential of the technical and scientific information defined for appropriate technology, and solving certain development problems. In addition, WIPO spanned its competency in the developing countries of the African Union in the first quarter of 2011. It is expected that within two years of the projects WIPO will facilitate international technological strengthening through demonstrations of separate cases from available information databases. They aim to find relevant technical solutions and meet the key compatriot development priorities. The project is in the final stage with the publication of the technical report and the business plans (Ficsor 3).

Conclusions

In conclusion, Egypt’s collaboration with WIPO and participating in intellectual property protection are perspective ways of development in the area of information technologies. The country wins from cooperation with WIPO. However, various suggestions are relevant in the sphere of the creation of laws within the country. The organization gave the country appropriate support to develop the law on trademarks to patents. Rules established in the field of intellectual rights regulated the protection of copyright, in particular, written works, artwork, theater and musical works, photos, cinema movies, television, and radio works for the publication, maps, and speeches, as well as software.

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