Search

 

Cablegate: Ipr in Yemen: New Laws and Enhanced Enforcment Needed

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANAA 002775

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARP, EB/IPR, EB/TRD
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR J.BUNTIN
STATE ALSO FOR USAID ANE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR YM ECON COM
SUBJECT: IPR IN YEMEN: NEW LAWS AND ENHANCED ENFORCMENT NEEDED

REF A O3 Sanaa 2776

1. Summary. Intellectual Property Rights Laws in Yemen need to
be updated to meet Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights Standards (TRIPS), and existing laws should be enforced.
Although it is not a major transit point or purchaser for
illicitly produced goods and is not on USTR Special 301 watch
list, Yemen does not have adequate IPR laws. The Ministries
charged with enforcing IPR regulations suffer from poorly trained
staff and offer little incentive to pursue IPR violations. End
Summary.

2. Yemen is not on USTR's Special 301 Watch List as a country of
concern for Intellectual Property Rights violations. The amount
of smuggled and pirated goods is growing, however, and illegal
copies of software, DVDs and music can be purchased at some
stores in major cities. At this time, Post is unaware of any
pirated goods being produce illegally Yemen. Most pirated
products are likely smuggled from other countries and sold in
Yemen. Due to Yemen's extreme poverty, however, the market for
such items is limited.

-----------------------
"Tite" Still on Shelves
-----------------------

3. The Tide/Tite issue (Ref A) is a case-study on the failure of
IPR enforcement in Yemen. Proctor and Gamble (P&G) initiated
court proceedings against the local manufacturer of Tite laundry
detergent in 1999 for violating their Tide patent. Having won
three cases (including a Supreme Court ruling in 2003), Tite
laundry detergent is still on supermarket shelves and P&G is in
private arbitration talks. Continued discussions with the
Ministry of Industry's Office of Patent Enforcement have produced
no effective response. In the Tide case, Yemen's laws worked
(albeit slowly), but the Supreme Court's decision was not
enforced and there is no political will to resolve this
outstanding IPR issue.

--------------------------
New IPR Legislation Needed
--------------------------

4. Yemen's IPR laws are not WTO compliant and legislation
designed to address many Trade Related aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights Standards (TRIPS) languishes in Parliament.
Yemen's patent, industrial design, and copyright laws all must be
revised to meet international standards. The U.S. submitted
several specific questions on Yemen's Memorandum of Foreign Trade
Regime aimed at TRIPS compliance for patent and copyright laws.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism submitted to Parliament an
amended copyright law that addressed specific concerns over
software piracy and is TRIPS compliant, but Parliament still has
not ratified the adjustments. Gaps such as geographical
indicators, topographies (integrated circuits layout),
undisclosed information (especially those related to trade
secrets), and anti-competitive behavior in contractual licenses

SIPDIS
still need to be addressed in future legislation.

------------------
Who Controls What?
------------------

5. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) controls patents and
trademarks. The World Intellectual Property Organization
provided computers and other English language training for Patent
officers. Four IPR departments reside in MIT: Patents and
Industrial Designs; Trademark Registration; Trademark Depository;
and Public Awareness. The offices suffer from lack of English
training, limited awareness of IPR trends and insufficient
equipment to carry out their functions.

6. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism enforces copyright laws.
The Ministry is less adept at enforcing its laws that MIT and
suffers from inadequate resources. Executives from Microsoft
along with the private NGO the Business Software Alliance are
lobbying the ROYG to adopt the changes to the copyright laws
concerning software piracy. If such a law is drafted, Microsoft
will open an office in Yemen. Enforcement of the laws falls to
Ministry of Interior and Customs, with little interaction, except
if encouraged by companies.

7. In July, President Saleh announced an anti-smuggling
initiative aimed at fighting software piracy and asked Yemen's
Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness regarding the problem.
Post has seen no movement to extend enforcement, take readily
available pirated software off the shelves, or pass legislation
to enhance enforcement.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Untrained Officials Enforcing Little Understood Laws
--------------------------------------------- -------

8. Judges and prosecutors lack training to prosecute IPR cases.
Cases take years to wind their way through Yemen's judicial
systems; decisions, as in the Tide case, are not enforced.
Further complicating the situation in Yemen is the combination of
laws from both the former South and North. Judges from the South
often did not receive training in the new commercial laws they
are required to enforce. The ROYG is taking small steps to
address the problem and is looking at upgrading the commercial
courts in both Sanaa and Aden to meet business needs.

9. Companies who bring IPR complaints to various ministries
receive attention, but the ministries charged with enforcing IPR
laws do not take action. Several businessmen note that once they
inform the Customs Authority of a problem, officials are helpful
and usually act to seize goods. On the flip side, there seems
little political will to initiate cases of IPR enforcement.

---------------------------------------------
New Laws, Enhanced Enforcement Equals Revenue
---------------------------------------------

10. Comment: With declining oil revenues and high unemployment,
even small steps toward improving Yemen's investment climate are
important to encourage foreign investment. Until now, the IPR
message is usually linked to the far off WTO accession goal and
not the fact that expanded IPR protections will directly benefit
Yemenis. The pitch for expanded IPR enforcement and new laws
should focus on the benefits of job creation and expanded tax
revenue Yemen would receive should they take necessary steps
toward WTO accession. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>

Department Of Global Communications: UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Message For World Health Day 2021

5 APRIL 2021 As COVID-19 Reveals Immoral Inequities in Health System, Secretary-General Observance Message Calls for Applying Policies, Assigning Resources to Ensure Everyone Thrives Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World ... More>>