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Cablegate: Nicaraguan Officials and Industry Draft Ipr Enforcement

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2654/01 3651707
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311707Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1877
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002654

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EB/TPP/IPE
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO JUSTICE FOR OPDAT ROBERT LIPMAN
STATE PLEASE ALSO PASS TO USTR FOR ANDREA MALITO
TREASURY FOR SARA GRAY
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/MSIEGELMAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON USTR NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUAN OFFICIALS AND INDUSTRY DRAFT IPR ENFORCEMENT
MANUAL


SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Embassy Managua hosted an intellectual property rights
(IPR) enforcement workshop, led by the U.S. Department of Justice's
Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and
Training (DOJ/OPDAT), to facilitate the drafting of a best practices
IPR enforcement manual by Government of Nicaragua (GON) officials
and industry to combat piracy and other IPR crimes. Eight different
GON institutions and three separate industry representatives
attended the workshop. The workshop also inspired GON officials and
industry representatives to organize ad hoc meetings to finalize the
manual and improve their cooperation to combat IPR crimes. End
Summary.


FOCUS OF THE IPR WORKSHOP
-------------------------

2. (U) Embassy Managua hosted an intellectual property rights (IPR)
enforcement workshop December 4-6, 2007, to facilitate efforts of
Government of Nicaragua (GON) officials and industry representatives
to draft a best practices IPR enforcement manual to combat piracy
and other IPR crimes, such as trademark infringement and copyright
violations. A DOJ/OPDAT Program Manager and his training team
designed and led the workshop. The draft manual created during the
workshop was specific to Nicaragua and reflected the broad
experience and knowledge of the participants. Once finished and
published, all Nicaraguan prosecutors and investigators can use this
best practices manual as a resource for handling IPR cases.


GOOD ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION AT THE IPR WORKSHOP
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) Eight different GON institutions and three separate
industry representatives attended the workshop. GON participants
included two civil court justices, two public prosecutors, two
police officers from the Economic Crimes Unit and one police officer
from the National Crime Laboratory, three Customs officials, two
court police assistants, one official from the Directorate General
of Taxes, and one official from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and
Development (MIFIC). Industry participants included representatives
from the Free Trade Zone, Nicautor (an association which advocates
IPR enforcement and protection for book authors and music
companies), the American Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua, and a
private attorney who specializes in IPR protection. Of the 24
participants invited to the workshop, 20 attended all three days of
the event.

4. (SBU) After a preliminary discussion of the importance of IPR
protection, the participants were divided into four teams to begin
drafting the manual. Each team was given a specific section to
draft: a) intelligence gathering, b) investigation procedures and
techniques, c) possible charges and defenses against those charges,
and d) applicable laws. The teams worked separately to create a
first draft. Once each team completed their draft, it was
distributed to other teams for editing, revision, and additions.
When the sections were put together, the draft manual was reviewed
by the entire group at the end of the program. On several
occasions, members of the investigative procedures and techniques
team (police, public prosecutors, MIFIC) engaged in spirited
discussions with the applicable laws team (judges). They debated
the judicial branch's interpretation of certain statutes related to
evidence gathering. They also discussed how IPR provisions included
in bilateral and multilateral treaties, such as the Central American
Free Trade Agreement, should be enforced.

EMPHASIZING MUTUAL INTERESTS AND COOPERATION
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Throughout the workshop, the OPDAT representative and his
training team emphasized that the GON and industry have mutual
interests in combating IPR violations. GON and industry
representatives agreed that IPR enforcement and protection were in
Nicaragua's national interests. One police officer from the
Economic Crimes Unit said that IPR protection was important to
Nicaragua's economic development, trade interests, and job creation.
A representative from Nicautor asserted that both the GON and the
private sector have interests in upholding and promoting the rule of
law. A customs official said that cooperation among government
entities and between the GON and industry has been a longstanding
issue. She noted that this workshop presented the GON and industry
an opportunity to enhance cooperation, share ideas, and exchange
views from their respective professional perspectives to improve IPR
enforcement and protection.

PARTICIPANTS TAKE INITIATIVE TO WORK TOGETHER
---------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) During the last day of the meeting, the participants
finished the first draft of the IPR best practices manual. On their
own initiative, the participants scheduled a meeting on December 11
to approve a final version of the IPR best practices manual and
explore the creation of an interagency working group on IPR
enforcement. They have scheduled another meeting on January 11 to
continue their work and discussions on enhanced interagency
cooperation. Dr. Leyla Prado, Head of the IPR Unit in the Public
Prosecutor's Office, told Econoff on December 20 that there is
currently a lot of enthusiasm among some of the GON officials and
industry representatives who attended the IPR workshop to continue
these ad hoc meetings. She said that GON officials and industry
recognize that more communication, even at an informal level, will
produce tangible, official results in combating piracy and other IPR
crimes.

TRIVELLI

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