Despite COVID-19 – The Swedish Intellectual Property Office maintains its international training programs

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The Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV) has for nearly 30 years co-operated with the Swedish government agency for development cooperation – Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). Sida’s activities are funded through Swedish tax revenue, and through cooperation with civil society, multilateral organizations, public agencies and the private sector, Sida works for sustainable development and assisting in creating conditions for people living in poverty and oppression to improve their living conditions. Sida’s geographical focus is on countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

In this respect, knowledge about intellectual property and how this can lead to economic development is a very important part. Normally, before COVID-19 the PRV training programs were arranged at the PRV main office in Stockholm, Sweden, were the participants during three weeks meet experts from PRV, as well as other agencies, organizations and companies, including also visits to Swedish industry. The goal was (and is) to study how intellectual property, including copyright, patent, trademark and design protection, can lead to economic development.

After the first phase of the course, each participant continued to work on their project back home, with a follow-up about six months after the course in one of the participants’ countries, in which the participants reported their results and how they planned to continue developing their projects.

At the last physical meeting (in 2019), 25 participants from 14 countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia participated for three weeks in seminars and round-table discussions on the intellectual property topic, as well as international negotiation and project management.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has closed the doors for international travel and physical meetings, the pandemic also shows that it may be even more important than ever to keep up the development and protection of intellectual property rights, in order to find solutions to medical problems, develop the general industry and improving living conditions. Therefore, PRV is now offering virtual settings of the international training programs.

During 2021, the PRV arrange three training programs:

ITP: 313a and 313b: “Intellectual Property for Least Developed Countries” (LDSs), with initial virtual meetings in February and May, and virtual follow-up meetings in September and December 2021. The main objectives, as presented by PRV, for the programme include:

  • To increase the familiarity with the foundational concepts and the different categories of Intellectual Property for the achievement of national development objectives including the strengthening of IP institutions and systems in LDCs.
  • To inform about and discuss a number of specific issues, related to development, in the area of Intellectual Property, including the impact of IP to enable solutions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • To discuss and provide examples of various aspects of international negotiations in the field of IP to strengthen capacity and multilateral cooperation.

Further, the programme explain the role of IP in key national public policy issues as well as the importance of patents and other IP rights and their role in promoting innovation, economic growth, increased competitiveness, and socio-economic development.

The third training program, called “ITP: 313c Intellectual Property and Genetic

Resources – in Support of Innovation”, scheduled for April 2021 with a follow-up meeting in November 2021, is described by PRV as a program that “will build human capacity in Intellectual Property in the field of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in Support of innovation”.

The program focus on how intellectual property can be used and have positive influences on the daily life, such as contribute to public health, address climate changes, make new technologies available, support rural development, empower small businesses, promote scientific research, and contribute to inclusive economic growth and reduced poverty.

As can be seen: This program is indeed something that all politicians, financiers and decision makers around the world, including Sweden, should participate actively in, in order to learn and understand the importance of intellectual property for our daily life and economic growth! Maybe the participants in the International Training Programs can return to us next year, and give Europe a necessary update on how to secure a healthy future based on well-used intellectual properties.

Author: Maria Zamkova / Fenix Legal

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