A range of targeted publications, interactive workshops and a new website are some of the outcomes of a project intended to increase understanding of intellectual property (IP) in South East Asia.
Three APEC Member Economies, Indonesia, The Philippines and Viet Nam are participating in the IP Education Skill-Swap Project funded by APEC's Trade and Investment Liberalisation and Facilitation (TILF) Special Account and IP Australia.
Mr Julio Bravo, Program Director for the APEC Intellectual Property Rights Experts' Group, described the project as an "excellent example of different Member Economies working together to develop tangible outcomes."
"IP is an important element in most modern economies that encourages innovation, the development of new industries and job creation.
"A strong IP system that is understood by business also facilitates more trade opportunities."
"APEC is proud to be involved in this project that will help people in each Member Economy to better understand the importance of intellectual property.
"An effective intellectual property rights system provides confidence to business that their rights will be respected. Ultimately this means that profits will be returned to IP rights holders when goods and services are traded in the region."
Dr Ian Heath, Director General of IP Australia, said this project was focusing on education as one of the most important elements in intellectual property.
"Our experience has shown that having strong IP legislation is important but it is essential that people know about it, so education is the key," Dr Heath said.
"Public education and awareness activities can be resource intensive so our objective is to ensure that resources in IP offices are used strategically.
"Our intention is to take the skills and expertise we have developed in this field and transfer them to other economies to use locally."
Ms Carmen Peralta, Director of Documentation Information and Technology Bureau, at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines described the IP Education Skill-Swap Project as having the potential to provide great benefit to the Filipino economy.
"The workshop facilitated by IP Australia enabled us to promote the importance of IP education locally in the Philippines," Mrs. Peralta said.
"The IP Workshop provided us with the tools to improve our own awareness and promotional programs."
The Chief of the International Cooperation Section of the Indonesian Intellectual Property Office, Mr Yasmon said the project has opened new doors for businesspeople in Indonesia.
"The IP Education Skill-Swap Project has been useful in efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the IP system," Mr. Yasmon said.
"The project has also reinforced the excellent working relationship our office has with APEC and IP Australia."
Mr Mai Van Son from the National Office of Industrial Property of Vietnam said "the IP Education Skill-Swap Project is producing tangible outcomes such a website and SME brochure.
"Online resources and printed materials for SMEs will play an important part in our strategy to increase the level of awareness and understanding of IP within Vietnam," Mr Van Son said.
"We look forward to building upon the skills we have developed through our involvement in this project."
The IP Education Skill-Swap Project works with the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment's Action Agenda of working to support strong and effective intellectual property rights systems in the APEC region.
Prior to work starting on the Intellectual Property Education Project, an extensive consultation program was undertaken to identify needs within each of the three participating economies.
The Intellectual Property Education Project commenced late in 2002 and most deliverables are scheduled for completion before the end of June 2004.
An APEC Fact Sheet on the IP Education Skill-Swap Project is available on the APEC Website.