KUWAIT CITY, May 1: Countries around the world recently marked World Intellectual Property Day for a very good reason: protecting intellectual property is essential for the development of all modern economies.
All those – Americans, Kuwaitis or others – need to have confidence that their creative products will be protected in the marketplace if they are to innovate and contribute to a more diversified economy, says a press release issued by the US Embassy in Kuwait.
That is why we at the US Embassy have been working with the government of Kuwait to improve intellectual property protections here in Kuwait. This year, the US Embassy in Kuwait highlighted this important subject with a series of workshops in partnership with LOYAC featuring our Intellectual Property Attaché, Peter Mehravari, and visiting American oud player and singer-songwriter Aliya Cycon.
We are pleased that we have made some progress, but more needs to be done so that protection of intellectual property in Kuwait will meet international standards. Kuwait’s Vision 2035 is premised on economic diversification, innovation and foreign investment. In order to motivate innovators and creators to make Kuwait economically strong and to attract greater investment, the country needs to strengthen intellectual property rights and enforce laws against counterfeit and pirated goods. Strong laws and effective enforcement of those laws will also protect Kuwaiti consumers from being sold products, including medicine, that are not up to standards their producers claim.
The problem is not just about counterfeit apparel or luxury items, which may be made from harmful materials or contain hazardous chemicals. It is also about counterfeit auto parts, including airbags, brakes, and windshields, as well as electrical switches that end up in homes and offices that can short circuit and cause fires, healthcare products that we apply directly to our skin and even pirated software that can create cyber security vulnerabilities.
Kuwait does recognize the importance of intellectual property rights and is taking steps to bring its system in line with international standards. The Customs Department seized 343 shipments of counterfeit and pirated goods this year, but counterfeit and pirated goods still flood market places throughout the country.
Kuwait needs to remove and destroy counterfeits already in the market. Stiff penalties against those manufacturing, relabeling, importing, and selling counterfeit and pirated goods will deter criminals from bringing illicit goods into Kuwait. Legislative and enforcement efforts will move Kuwait closer to meeting its international obligations, and help the Kuwaiti creative, innovative and entrepreneurial communities protect their work in the digital and global marketplace. We also look forward to the establishment of entities that can assist artists, musicians, filmmakers, and software developers in receiving fair compensation for their work.