Intellectual property focus of meeting at Tanoa

A sub-regional workshop focusing on intellectual property (I.P.) concluded at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel yesterday. 

The three-day event offered the opportunity for small and medium enterprises in Samoa to understand the important concept of intellectual property. 

Funded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (W.I.P.O.), the event was organised in Samoa through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, and hosted delegates from a few Pacific Islands. 

“The most important objective is to provide that knowledge and information to our business operators, in terms of the intellectual property concepts,” said the Ministry’s C.E.O. and registrar, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling.

“Because you understand there is very strong competition in our own region in the Pacific, in terms of the innovations and similar products that are produced by our people in the Pacific, and so in order for our businesspeople to meet that competition, they need to understand how they can take advantage of the intellectual property concept.”

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Pulotu said it is very important for Samoan business people to know and understand that their new inventions and their products are protected under I.P. arrangements. 

“They have a proper branding, and to protect them from other people copying their products. So it’s very important that they have that understanding and knowledge. 

“There has been an ongoing debate about what’s happening in the region on who owns the tapa patterns. I think all the Pacific Island countries are claiming that they own it, but as Samoan businesses, we know that we also have our own unique tapa patterns, but that is no longer case. 

“There was no protection in the early days from our forefathers, so overall to have this type of workshop in Samoa is beneficial for the people.”

Pulotu says I.P. is safe because Samoa already has an intellectual property law in place, but they want to expand that mandate through international conventions under W.I.P.O. 

“This gives Samoa the opportunity to be safeguarded globally. Apart from our own laws,” he said. 

“We are still developing in terms of awareness and also understanding the I.P. for your goods and services, but the role of the ministry is to help the business community understand that, and also to enforce the I.P. law.

“The message we are trying to promote to our people is that the minute you have a new creation, then you need to register that new product or service under the intellectual property registration here in Samoa. Don’t wait until you see the other competitors coming up with your inventions,” Pulotu said.

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