More nations and individuals are now acknowledging the importance of safeguarding of Intellectual Property (IP). IP is anything that is created by the human imagination. It could be anything from business ideas, business secrets, trademarks, to organization logos. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) leads the international community in celebrating the World Intellectual Property Day on 26th April. Kamil Idris, the former Director General of WIPO and renowned IP rights activist, points out that it is essential to commemorate this day and honor the creative individuals responsible for innovations that have enhanced the quality of society.
Professor Kamil Idris suggests that IP is a source of wealth to countries and this is one of the reasons that IP matters are currently defining trade relations among states. The United States and China are on the brink of going into a trade war because China has allegedly engaged in IP violations. China is accused of unlawfully obtaining technology from American firms by forcing them to share their techniques with Chinese firms to have access to the country’s market. China is also accused of manufacturing fake products using information stolen from American manufacturers and selling these products in the international market at a lower price than the original American manufacturers. This has cost the United States economy loses of over $500 billion.
Recently, President Trump announced that the United States would impose stiff tariffs on Chinese goods. According to Kamil Idris, this move is aimed towards resolving the IP problem with China, who have been reluctant in honoring agreements of IP protection they have previously entered into with the United States. Although some trade analysts are skeptical about Trump’s move and warn of retaliation from China and its trade allies, Kamil applauds the president’s move.
Kamil Idris is a Sudanese diplomat, author and international law expert whose tenure as the Director General for WIPO lasted eleven years. He believes in peaceful resolution of international conflict and is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which works to resolve international disputes. Professor Kamil Idris has a PH.D. in international law, several honorary doctorate law degrees and LLB honors in Law.