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Minister Marks World Intellectual Property Day

April 26 2002

Seminars and writing competitions are among several activities being organised to mark World Intellectual Property Day and to highlight the importance of intellectual property in an innovative, creative and growing economy, Associate Minister of Commerce Laila Harré said today.

She today highlighted the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in promoting an efficient enforcement system for intellectual property rights on World Intellectual Property Day. (26 April 2002).

“Today is the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s second World Intellectual Property day. The theme for today’s activities is encouraging creativity.

“This is exactly the thinking behind the government’s growth and innovation framework. Today is an excellent opportunity to think about the importance of intellectual property regulation to innovation.”

Laila Harré said the government had a number of important initiatives underway to ensure that New Zealand’s intellectual property framework was effective and up to date. These included:

 A review of the implications of digital technology for copyright. The government has been consulting widely on this issue and is in the process of considering the wide range of submissions received from interested parties;
 Reviews of both the Patents Act 1953 and the Plant Varieties Act 1987. The government has recently released two discussion papers on these Acts, inviting comment from interested parties. The closing date for submissions on both papers is 26 July 2002.
 A Trade Marks Bill to modernise the Trade Marks Act 1953 is currently before Parliament.

To mark World Intellectual Property Day, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) has organised a number of events to improve awareness of intellectual property rights within the community. These include:
 An essay competition for tertiary institutions and a short story/poetry competition for secondary schools ($2000 worth of prizes donated by the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys);
 An open day at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) in Lower Hutt.
 A seminar entitled “Protect Your Ideas” to be held at Massey and Victoria universities

Laila Harré noted the importance of raising public awareness of intellectual property rights as a means of combating the theft of intellectual property, an issue of growing concern.

But raising awareness was not simply a matter for government, she said. Rightholders themselves had an important role to play. In this regard, the Minister noted the example of the music industry, which had actively sought to educate the public about CD piracy.

Contact: Claire Hall, press secretary, (040 471-9902 or 021 270 9001


Background Information on:
 World Intellectual Property Organisation
 Ministry of Economic Development discussion papers
 Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand

Background Information for World Intellectual Property Day

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is an international organisation dedicated to promoting the use and protection of intellectual property. It also helps to ensure that the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property are protected throughout the world.

With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO is one of the 16 specialised agencies of the United Nations system. It administers 23 international treaties dealing with different aspects of intellectual property protection. The Organisation counts 178 nations as member states representing over 90 per cent of the world's countries - a reflection of the importance and relevance attached to the work of the Organisation. New Zealand became a member of WIPO on 20 June 1984. More information on WIPO can be found on the Internet at:

Recently released Ministry of Economic Development discussion papers

The Ministry of Economic Development is responsible for policy relating to the protection of intellectual property and New Zealand representation in international intellectual property fora including WIPO. Discussion documents recently released by the Ministry are listed below. The Internet link to the document is also provided.
 Review of the Patents Act 1953: Boundaries to Patentability
Submissions close 26 July 2002

 Review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987
Submissions close 26 July 2002

 Performers’ Rights: A Discussion Paper

 Digital Technology and the Copyright Act 1994: A Discussion Paper

Other discussion papers and media releases relating to intellectual property issues can be found on the Ministry’s website at:

Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ)

Further information about IPONZ can be obtained from their website at:

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