The dialogue was held at the semi-annual gathering in Santiago, Chile, conducted by APEC’s Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group (IPEG), to discuss important matters relating to IP rights. Successful strategies against counterfeiting were some of the important lessons shared at the gathering.
The IPEG meeting is also a forum where APEC economies share information on IP strategies, current initiatives, accomplishments, and generate projects aimed at capacity building.
A major point highlighted during the meeting was the growing threat of intellectual property theft. The financial losses due to this are estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars annually and IP theft dampens entrepreneurial innovation and investor confidence.
Participants felt that economies eager to build knowledge-intensive industries but who lag in IP protection will continue to lose out on investments.
APEC's IPEG also reiterated that the presence of strong IP rights bolsters economic growth. For instance, according to the United States Department of Commerce, IP protection has helped create more than 45 million high-paying knowledge-intensive jobs in the U.S., which amounts to some 38 percent of value-added GDP.
To highlight the importance of a strong IP regime, Canada held a workshop on its "Project Chargeback" initiative, which relies on cooperation between banks, credit card companies, consumers and law enforcement to fight against the sale of counterfeits and to protect consumers. The workshop, funded by APEC, shared know-how and best practices on how economies can establish their own domestic version of the initiative.
At the IPEG forum, Chile and Hong Kong China also presented their anti-counterfeiting initiatives, sharing experience on the benefits of these measures. The United States also shared a Resource Compendium on Trademark Infringement Determinations in the Border Enforcement Context.
Host economy Chile highlighted its first registered certification mark linked to a "sustainability code", which has been adopted and used successfully by the Chilean wine industry.
Meanwhile, Australia discussed its TM LINK, the internationally linked trademark database utilizing information from the IP offices of certain APEC economies, and its Blockchain Discovery Initiatives, including the use of blockchain in licensing (IP rights exchange) and in combating counterfeits (Smart Trademark).
The forum has been a platform for constructive dialogue, sharing of information, and project delivery, according to Nicholas Gordon, the Chair of APEC's IPEG.
"It’s the dialogue that helps find commonalities and gaps," said Gordon, who is also Deputy Director of the Intellectual Property Trade Policy Division at Global Affairs Canada.
"When there is clearly a shared interest or something new and cutting edge, you get real constructive engagement. Frequently this occurs in (the area of IP) administration, and that’s important for small and medium sized enterprises. Learning what you can do to reduce costs, simplify administrative processes, or raise IP awareness are keys to assisting creators and innovators increase their capacity to engage in the global economy," Gordon remarked.
"You find that coalition of wanting to be on the same page and further enhancing dialogue for the benefit of the region," he added.
The IPEG’s work program also includes studying measures for the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights, and facilitating technical cooperation to help economies implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).