US Diplomats Focus on Intellectual Property Rights in Guyana

"US Embassy Seen From Mercy Hospital" / July 25, 2007 / rustinpc / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

United States diplomats in the Caribbean marked April 26, World Intellectual Property Day, by praising Guyanese lawmakers as they prepare to craft new copyright legislation.

US Ambassador Perry Holloway wrote in an op-ed about the importance of robust intellectual property rights in Guyana as a means of protecting Guyanese “writers, artists, filmmakers, fashion and textile designers, mobile and web application coders and creators, and inventors in all sectors.”

“Protecting their creations and their intellectual property rights (IPR), is the right thing to do,” said Holloway.

He also challenged the assumption by some that intellectual property rights primarily benefit wealthier nations.

“Many people assume protecting people’s IPR only helps high-income countries where companies spend large amounts on research and development (R&D).  However, economists have learned that improving patent, trademark, and copyright protections help economic development in countries at all economic levels,” explained Holloway.  “This is because a strong IPR framework aids open trade, which in turn creates greater trust between trading partners, helping increase economic prosperity.”

The Chargé d’Affaires of the United States embassy in Guyana also praised lawmakers for taking up intellectual property rights. In remarks given two weeks prior to World Intellectual Property Day, the Chargé d’Affaires framed the issue in terms of progress, patrimony, and people, explaining how intellectual property rights creates a virtuous cycle.

“Today, we respect the ownership of others’ intellectual property so that, tomorrow, someone will respect our own,” said the Chargé d’Affaires. “This set of norms builds an environment of trust that makes open trade, collaboration, and investment possible. It is the type of trust developed only from knowledge that there is (1) an equal playing field that respects contracts, (2) supports content originators, and (3) defends the rights of everyone involved in the creative process—through legislation and the courts.  This is how countries build a cycle of innovation. Thus, when we understand that IPR is more than just patents, trademarks, and copyrights, and what those tools are really trying to protect, we see that IPR is also prosperity.”

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, 18 patent applications were filed in Guyana and 57 patents were granted in 2016, all by non-residents.

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