World Intellectual Property Ministers Meet In St. Kitts, Promote Sports Trademarks.

Enda’s running shoes are designed to support a mid-foot strike and maximize the runner’s natural metatarsal footprint, in line with the Kenyan running style. These shoes are an example of how intellectual property may be protected, from the WIPO Website (Photo: Courtesy of Enda)
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Key figures in intellectual property met in St. Kitts on November 06th, 2023, for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Ministerial Level Meeting.

This is seen locally as signifying a turning point in Caribbean nations starting to participate actively in global intellectual property laws and policies.

WIPO is an agency of the United Nations that was created to promote and protect intellectual property (IP) across the world by cooperating with countries as well as international organizations. It began operations on 26 Aprilth 1970 when the convention entered into force.

WIPO’s activities include hosting forums to discuss and shape international IP rules and policies, providing global services that register and protect IP in different countries, resolving transboundary IP disputes, helping connect IP systems through uniform standards and infrastructure, and serving as a general reference database on all IP matters.

This includes providing reports and statistics on the state of IP protection or innovation both globally and in specific countries. WIPO also works with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals to utilize IP for socioeconomic development.

Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis,  highlighted the critical importance of intellectual property rights for  regional prosperity in his introductory speech.

He affirmed the St. Kitts and Nevis Government’s dedication to cultivating the nation’s creative economy and sports industries, acknowledging their significant role in propelling sustainable development.

.The convening of the WIPO Ministerial Level Meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis also coincides with the launch of WIPO’s IP and Sports Project in the country, exemplifying the island’s growing influence in the intellectual property landscape.

IP rights – and the legal protection they give – are the basis for key business transactions that secure the economic value of sports and push the industry forward.

Thanks to steady industry growth, sporting organizations can finance high-profile sports events and promote sports development worldwide. The sports industry also contributes to the world economy, creating jobs and developing public infrastructure.

A modern sports shoe combines several types of innovation

Several IP rights may protect a sports shoe:

  • Patents protect the technology used to develop the shoe
  • Designs protect the “look” of the shoe
  • Trademarks distinguish the shoe from similar products and protect the “reputation” of the shoe (and the company making it)
  • Copyright protects any artwork and audiovisual creations used to publicize the shoe

WIPO has also published a guide to protecting sports innovation with trademarks.

“We are proud to collaborate with WIPO to unlock the true economic value of the sports sector in St Kitts and Nevis and look forward to the results of the project,” said the prime minister.

“We will continue to invest in education and training, to nurture our talent, and to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in a globalized world. We are committed to creating a robust legal framework that protects the rights of creators, ensures fair compensation, and upholds the integrity of Intellectual Property.”

Organized by the WIPO in collaboration with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, the meeting saw the attendance of globally prominent figures. Senior government officials were also in attendance.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information, and cooperation.

It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with a mission to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

Sources; SKNIS, WIPO.
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