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 SKOPJE: To educate citizens of Macedonia about the dangers of counterfeit goods, the U.S. Embassy worked with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and the Government of Macedonia on a mobile IPR caravan that displayed counterfeit and legitimate cosmetics, food, and medicine in the central squares of five of the largest cities in Macedonia. Embassy, AmCham, and government officials staffing the caravan asked quiz show style questions and awarded prizes to interested participants. Concurrently, the government conducted a series of 40 police raids on markets, DVD shops, and dental offices where officials suspected copyright violations. Officials seized counterfeit goods, imposed 50,000 euros in fines, and filed 24 charges against infringers. The Embassy noted that Macedonian customs officials have also stopped a significant number of counterfeit items from entering the country’s markets, notably fake Gillette and Nike products.
SPOTLIGHT – EMBASSY BANGKOK: To headline the celebration of “Science and Tech Month” in August, the U.S. Embassy organized a 1,100 square foot exhibit at Thailand’s National Science Fair Expo showcasing high tech products from five American companies. The exhibit gave visitors the opportunity for hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies from top American companies in the region. Visitors played a quiz game about the history of U.S. innovation and intellectual property, with answers found on a timeline of notable American innovations posted on the exhibit’s front wall. They also watched anti-piracy advertisements featuring famous Thai performing artists, a campaign developed by Embassy Bangkok in 2012. The 16-day Science Fair drew more than 1.1 million visitors, most of whom were primary and secondary school groups bused in from around Thailand. The Embassy covered the event on its social media platforms, generating more than 10,000 “likes” on exhibit-themed Facebook posts over the month of August.
SPOTLIGHT – CONSULATE GENERAL LAGOS: Consulate General Lagos launched a two-pronged campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit anti-malaria medication in Nigeria July 19. This included a series of public service announcements highlighting the dangers of purchasing fake medication from street side hawkers or informal market vendors, and recorded by popular Nollywood personalities. The PSAs will be broadcast on major national radio stations for six months, reaching millions of Nigerian listeners. The second part of the campaign involved a student poster competition to raise awareness among high school students in Lagos, with the winning poster printed and distributed for display in pharmacies throughout the country. The campaign was developed in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration of Nigeria, a coalition of multinational brand owners and government enforcement agencies, and supported by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
SPOTLIGHT – MISSION GENEVA: Ambassador Betty E. King welcomed hundreds of guests to Mission Geneva’s Independence Day 2013 event, where the spotlight was on Celebrating Hollywood and Great American Movies. The theme highlighted the importance of protecting intellectual property, a Mission priority in working with international organizations. It was a fun and festive event, set in front of backdrops from Grease, the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Casablanca, and Gone with the Wind.
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 – TAIWAN: Targeting the counterfeit pharmaceutical market in Taiwan, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) coordinated with local partners, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) and the International Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (IRPMA), to hold training and public diplomacy outreach to raise awareness of IPR and health-related concerns of fake drugs. AIT and its co-sponsors hosted a video competition which produced short video clips to highlight the prevalence and danger of fake pharmaceuticals trafficked through online pharmaceuticals. With these local partners and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (DHS/ICE), AIT also hosted a workshop for 70 customs and regulatory officials to provide specialized training on combating online sales of counterfeit drugs.
SPOTLIGHT – BRAZIL: In November 2012, Consulate General Sao Paulo completed the second iteration of “Video Legal,” an award-winning joint program with Microsoft Brazil and the American Chamber of Commerce, funded in part by EB through its intellectual property rights (IPR) awareness project. The program received the top award for best IPR program in Southeast Brazil from the National Council to Combat Piracy, part of the GOB’s Ministry of Justice. This cycle of the program tripled its outreach to 30 Sao Paulo public schools, raising awareness of IPR and inspiring students to create original videos on various IPR themes. Surveys taken before and after the contest showed students dramatically increased their understanding of the sources, dangers, and consequences of IP piracy. On November 23, some 100 students watched the top-rated videos and performed live music at a festive award ceremony. The winning student groups will visit the Brazil headquarters of Google and Microsoft in February 2013.
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.