Economic officers at over 200 posts worldwide work to promote respect for intellectual property rights. Check out highlights from some particularly exciting programs below.
SPOTLIGHT – EMBASSY SEOUL: Embassy Seoul set up a booth for the Korea International Women Inventors Exposition held May 1-4. Twenty-six countries were represented at the event that helped raise the visibility of the importance of IPR. Visitors to the booth were most interested in the creativity cards and balls provided by USPTO. They also browsed entrepreneurship and innovation publications and took handouts on SelectUSA and U.S. Government support for women entrepreneurs and inventors.
SPOTLIGHT – EMBASSY PRETORIA: For World Intellectual Property Day, Embassy Pretoria partnered with several South African government agencies and the private sector, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), Proudly South African, Microsoft and the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT). The goal was to raise public awareness about the damage intellectual property (IP) infringement does to the South African economy, and its creative industries. The partners hosted two free film festivals celebrating IP at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria that featured 2013 Oscar winner "Searching for Sugarman" and other titles. South African pop star Lira and other music industry personalities showed their support and joined the events. The film festivals included a press roundtable, free IP consultations for students by university law professors, and exhibitions of South African products. The partners also did TV and radio interviews. The festivals launched the partners’ bold new antipiracy campaign titled "Be Your Own, Buy Your Own" that encourages South African consumers to replace a culture of counterfeit with a culture of copyright. The campaign links IP to the prosperity of their industries. The involvement of industry, academia and government exemplified the comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach that Embassy Pretoria has highlighted as the most effective way to raise public awareness around IP protection.
SPOTLIGHT – EMBASSY BANGKOK: Mission Thailand’s advertising campaign on Bangkok’s Skytrain System (BTS) raised public awareness of the cost of piracy to innovation. Reaching over a million passengers who ride the BTS daily, overhead advertising on trains from December 2012 through February 2013 featured messages by well-known Thai actors and songwriters. The messages, in both Thai and English, addressed the creative costs to Thailand from illegal digital downloading and used the tagline “Keep it Real.” The ads were developed in cooperation with Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property as part of the Thai-U.S. Creative Partnership, along with the Motion Picture Association and Thai Entertainment Content Association.
SPOTLIGHT – CONSULATE SAO PAULO: On February 20, Microsoft hosted the winners of Consulate Sao Paulo’s Video Legal IPR video contest at the Microsoft Technology Center in Sao Paulo. Some 40 students, aged 10-14, from predominately low-income families, learned the benefits of protecting intellectual property and expressed interest in pursuing careers in the technology and corporate fields. Students experimented with Microsoft’s new applications, such as Windows 8 and Xbox 360, and received a video game programming demonstration.
SPOTLIGHT – INDONESIA: The IP App Challenge concluded November 29 at Jakarta’s high-tech cultural center @america when two teams of app developers won first prize ($5000) for mobile apps designed to fight piracy and protect intellectual property rights. Six finalists, including three student and three professional app developers, demonstrated their intellectual property-themed apps before a panel of judges, who represented industry, the Embassy, and the entrepreneur community. Over the past several months, U.S. Embassy Jakarta, in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI), solicited almost 40 app proposals from student and professional app developers to promote intellectual property protection in Indonesia. At the November 29 demo night, each of the six finalists presented demo versions of their apps and answered questions from the judges. The winner from the student category is a startup company simulation game that incorporates consequences for purchasing pirated software and equipment, and in the professional category the winning app is a band manager simulation game that demonstrates the impact piracy can have on the success of a band. The winning apps will be launched in April 2013 to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day.
SPOTLIGHT – CROATIA: The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb partnered with AmCham Croatia to host a two-day Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) seminar in Zagreb on October 25-26. The event focused on IPR enforcement experiences and the importance of cooperation between the judiciary and law enforcement to establish clear procedures in response to the discovery of counterfeit items. Respected American IPR speaker/game developer Timothy Trainer, along with several members of AmCham Croatia’s IPR committee, led the seminar. Seventeen judges and twenty police officers responsible for IPR issues across Croatia attended the event. Seminar participants played the role of IPR owners using an interactive game that Mr. Trainer created; this enabled participants to better understand the economic impact of IPR theft. AmCham IPR committee members from Pfizer, Microsoft, and Nike presented practical examples of IPR theft; highlighted the dangers that such theft poses to Croatian citizens; and educated participants regarding information sources available to law enforcement and judges in their investigations and hearings on IPR crimes. Participants said they particularly appreciated that presentations and examples were developed from everyday situations -- as opposed to discussions on a more theoretical level.
SPOTLIGHT – ITALY: On September 27-28 at the U.S. Consulate in Florence, Mission Italy sponsored an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) workshop in collaboration with Italian copyright anti-piracy associations and Rome’s John Cabot University. Opened by the Ambassador, the workshop addressed online piracy – as well as the use of the Internet to traffic counterfeit goods – and acquainted Italian participants from the digital content industry, the magistracy, law enforcement, government, academia, and regulatory entities with the latest U.S. thinking regarding IPR protection. The workshop also provided a forum to discuss long-pending draft regulations from Italy’s communications regulator (AGCOM), which are needed to improve the protection of online content in Italy.
SPOTLIGHT – FIJI: On July 21, 2012, Embassy Suva collaborated with Kulture Entertainment, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and Procera Music Shops to present a free “Musicians Against Pirates” concert. The concert featured more than 50 of the country’s top artists who volunteered to perform as a way to raise awareness about the effects of media piracy. Although protected by the Fiji Copyright Act, local artists continue to be significantly affected by the sale of pirated copies of their music. The Managing Director of Procera Music Shops estimated the loss at $25,000.00 per album. During the concert and in all media, organizers noted that the Fijian government is working to stop vendors of pirated media from benefiting off the work of others, but consumers also have a responsibility to seek out original products. Post estimates that through live attendance, radio, web, print, and television, the event’s IPR messaging would have collectively reached some 500,000 Fijians—more than half of the population.
SPOTLIGHT – GUATEMALA: Embassy Guatemala hosted a conference in San Marcos, an area of Guatemala near the Mexican border, to educate eighty-five health care workers on the dangers of counterfeit medicine. The workers included nurses and staff who do outreach in the rural area health centers and often go door-to-door in the rural communities. At the end of the conference, the attendees suggested that a poster would be the best way to reach the ethnically-diverse population in rural markets. Working with FEDEFARMA who obtained free design services and low cost printing, the Embassy was able to produce 30,000 posters that the Ministry of Health distributed to all health care centers throughout the country where they will be seen by hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans. (English translation of the poster: In the street: NO; In the pharmacy: YES; Counterfeit medicines are dangerous to your health. Buy your medicines from authorized shops.)
SPOTLIGHT – CHINA: On April 26 2012, Consulate Guangzhou launched a smartphone application to serve local students and U.S. companies in south China. At the same time, the app will increase local awareness among students and young professionals on the benefits of innovation and encourage a greater respect for intellectual property rights. The app offers job search advice that encourages young professionals – an influential but hard to reach segment – to think about intellectual property rights (IPR) as part of global companies’ core values and something they need to know and discuss intelligently in order to succeed in their job searches. To create unique and compelling job advice and core values content, the Consulate requested multi-national companies like Google, Hasbro and Harley-Davidson to submit videos from their top executives talking about their companies’ core values and what they look for when interviewing potential employees. In addition to voluminous written content on job advice, samples of “good” and “bad” resumes and cover letters, the app also features three U. S. Government-produced IPR awareness videos and one video focused on China, as well as IPR-related news articles, an interactive quiz focused on IPR to demonstrate the connection between job creation and innovation, and advice from the pharmaceutical industry on how to avoid the purchase of counterfeit drugs. Here are Android and Apple version links to this free app. (App is in Chinese language).
SPOTLIGHT – INDONESIA: U.S. Embassy Jakarta’s Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program’s (DOJ ICITAP) campaign on intellectual property rights promoted IPR awareness through a combination talk show and musical performance on April 28. DOJ’s Gerald Heuett and Prof. Dr. M. Ramli, Director General of the Indonesian Intellectual Property Rights Directorate, opened the program, which included musical performances by two Indonesian artists who have actively campaigned for better IPR protection in Indonesia.
SPOTLIGHT – CAMBODIA: In February 2012, Embassy Phnom Penh launched a national public outreach campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of counterfeit and substandard medications. With cooperation from the Cambodian Ministry of Health, this poster, which was selected from over 2,000 entries submitted in an online contest targeted at youth, will be displayed in pharmacies, clinics and hospitals all over Cambodia.