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Regional IP Protection: An East African Coordination

IP officials came from East Africa Regionto discuss importance of IP protection.

Regional coordination, communication and cooperation were the focus of the June 9-11 workshop in Kampala, Uganda, Regional IP Protection: An East African Coordination. The US Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) co-organized this three-day program in coordination with the East African Community (EAC) and the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI), and with participation from the US Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). IP protection and enforcement officials hailed from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to dialogue on the importance of intellectual property protection and its impact on the region's economies and development. The program sought to improve the skill and knowledge level of the East African officials charged with the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and determine mechanisms, programs and procedures that would improve the cooperation, collaboration, and communication amongst IP agencies in the East Africa region. Through a combination of interactive panels, plenary sessions, round table discussions and case study exercises, the workshop also sought to determine the prevailing and proposed standards of IP protection in the individual countries and the through EAC legislation on a regional basis. Representatives reported on the current status of IP enforcement in their countries, encouraged the use of IP as an effective tool for development and discussed the need for greater interagency coordination at national and regional levels. Industry stakeholders also related the negative impact of piracy on the creative industries and counterfeiting (including medicines and consumer goods) on the health and safety of the region's population. Customs officials, including representatives from CBP and ICE, explored how to enhance communication between customs services to enable better identification and interdiction of counterfeit and pirated products crossing borders within the region. By promoting harmonized cooperation on procedures and communication among IP enforcement agencies in the East Africa region, seeks to assist the EAC and the individual countries of East Africa to increase the consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness of IP protection in the region, and to further the elimination of counterfeit and pirated goods from the region's markets.

Areas of Expertise
Countries and Regions