The topics before the World
Intellectual Property Organization are “Defining and Measuring Access to
Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property” and “Protecting Indigenous
People’s Intellectual Property in Documenting Traditional Medical Knowledge”.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) serves a great purpose as
it promotes the protection of intellectual property. Thus far, WIPO contains
191 member states.
I. Defining and Measuring
Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property
Like other participants in the
United Nations, The Republic of Zimbabwe holds a Permanent Mission to the UN. According
to the official UN site, Zimbabwe continues to be a factor in peace-keeping
around the world and is a firm believer of burden sharing and multilateralism.
Mission is at the frontline in clarifying issues concerning our country, and in
defending our hard-won freedom” – Frederick Makamure Masiiwa Shava, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
After Zimbabwe’s earned independency
on the 18th of April 1980, the republic has since contributed to
major civilian and property protection programs. One of which is WIPO. The Republic
of Zimbabwe joined WIPO in 1981, gaining accession on the 29th of
September 1981, and joining the force shortly after, on the 29th
of December 1981.
The issue of stolen and unprotected
intellectual property is extremely common in the vast continent of Africa, as
rare traditional writings and inventions cost far more than one would expect.
Thus, enforcing laws and treaties in order to protect the continent is
extremely imperative, especially in The Republic of Zimbabwe. To begin, A Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act (26:05) was
established on the 10th of September 2004, tending to Competition, Copyright and Related Rights
(Neighboring Rights), Enforcement of IP and Related Laws, IP Regulatory Body
and Traditional Cultural Expressions, as mentioned on the official WIPO
site. This law covers everything from literature, to music—protecting the
innovative minds’ properties, and showing serious repercussions for those who do
not abide by the law. Additionally, Zimbabwe instituted two Trade Marks
Amendment Acts, one of which was entered into force on 2010, the law gives
retroactive immunity and protection to all trademark entries belonging to Zimbabwe,
and it also allows for penal damages awards that help punish those who participated
in flagrant infringements. Furthermore, it offers a broader scope to the
meaning of a ‘mark’, and includes notarization for collective marks. The second
law is the Trade Marks Act which was established on January 1975.
the overflowing laws implemented for the protection of intellectual property,
Zimbabwe has signed treaties with other fellow members of WIPO, to ensure the
protection of the knowledge that comes from Intellectual Property. Firstly,
Zimbabwe signed the “Protocol Relating to the
Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks” which is
an agreement that helps protect the properties of all participating countries
by the help of one another. Moreover, Zimbabwe joined the Patent Cooperation
Treaty that makes it possible to ask for a patent protection in more than one country.
All in all, Zimbabwe will continue on protecting IP as they are extremely
essential basic human rights.