Intellectual property hurdles, copyright barriers driving innovation, entrepreneurship in the Arab region

According to Kareem Hassan, Executive Director of ESCWA Technology Center for Development, addressing the Arab region’s intellectual property (IP) challenges and copyright ecosystem would help boost small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) growth, innovation and entrepreneurship to boost.
Hassan made the statement in his opening speech during the recently held online workshop “Intellectual Property for Promoting Innovation and SMEs in the Arab Region” organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the ICC Center of Entrepreneurship (CoE).
He explained that the Arab region faces “a significant challenge” with the IP and copyright ecosystem, leading to “a significant brain drain of Arab innovators and reflected in the number of inventions and IP registrations”.
The gap in protecting and enforcing intellectual property creation caused Arab states to lag behind other countries, according to Hassan. He also pointed out that few countries in the Arab region have a national intellectual property strategy and not all have access to international conventions.
Hassan said: “Furthermore, the internal political discourse is delaying the passage of new laws. Ecosystem challenges are also reflected by Arab startups and SMEs, which face weaknesses in patent creation, trademark registration and competitive intelligence alongside the lack of IP registration professions in terms of lawyers and agents.”
However, Hassan pointed out that there are multiple solutions to solve the IP challenges in the Arab region.
He said, “[these] revolve around investing in human and intellectual capital, making intellectual property accessible to the business community and facilitating effective partnerships, in addition to identifying, in a participatory way, clear goals and strategies to increase the number of innovations that serve national and regional SDGs.”
Hassan pointed out that the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) is working to strengthen legal frameworks that encourage public-private partnerships and link local and international agendas driven by the results of technology commercialization and the transformation of knowledge into benefit capital.
Citing the significant role played by the ICC, WIPO and other partners, Hassan said the event provided a clear understanding and overview of the critical issues related to intellectual property to boost innovation and SMEs in the Arab region.
The workshop “Intellectual Property for Promoting Innovation and SMEs in the Arab Region” provided an overview of the status and challenges of IP systems in the Arab region and the role of IP in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and SMEs ( SMEs). ). It also discussed best practices and lessons learned from selected Arab countries on advancing IP systems in their ecosystems and presented the WIPO IP Diagnostic Tool to improve IP readiness of innovators and SMEs.

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