ARTICLE
14 December 2023

Clever IP Schemes To Help Grow The Economy

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Inventa

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Inventa is a leading Intellectual Property Law Firm, specialized in the protection and internationalization of trademarks, patents, industrial designs, copyright and domain names. With over 50 years of experience in Portugal, the European Union and all the African jurisdictions, Inventa has served thousands of clients holding large trademark and patent portfolios, and other entities dealing with R&D daily. Furthermore, our experience allows us to understand the caveats of the different industries since we maintain relationships with clients from different sectors, including food and beverages companies, communications, IT, pharmaceuticals, manufacturers, oil & gas companies, financial institutions, business services companies and more. Our headquarters are based in Lisbon, Portugal, and we also have offices in Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Sao Tome, East Timor and Macao.
Ever since Cape Verde has acceded to the WIPO's treaties, as well as to the ARIPO'S Harare and Banjul protocols, the National IP Office has been actively making efforts to foster the role of IP in boosting innovation and creativity…
Cape Verde Intellectual Property
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Ever since Cape Verde has acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) treaties (ie, Madrid Protocol, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement and Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property), as well as to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization's (ARIPO) Harare and Banjul protocols, the National IP Office has been actively making efforts to foster the role of Intellectual Property in boosting innovation and creativity, by developing information and awareness-raising activities to promote namely national economic operators and the general public to the importance of registering their IP assets in order to protect creativity and innovation, but also to diversify and bolster the economic development.

For the time being, and according to the Institute for Quality Management and Intellectual Property (IGQPI), Cape Verde currently has around 4700 active trademarks in the PTO's internal system.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that most of these trademarks (around 3870 trademarks) are foreign—mainly from Europe, the Americas and Asia.

This certainly displays the international interest in Cape Verde's national market and the IGQPI's articulated partnership with its foreign counterparts.

It is, however, important to highlight the lower IP presence of the local population in the sector.

Looking into Cape Verdean's overall development, the nation has achieved significant social and economic growth since its independence in 1975, mainly driven by the sector of tourism.

Even so, having in mind the country's geographic challenges and limited resources, it is crucial to focus on diversifying the economic activities within the territory, so that external factors, such as the environmental crisis and global shocks, do not stagnate or prevent the continued development and growth of the national economy.

During the most intense years of the pandemic, there was a significant decline in the number of guests. However, in 2022, Cape Verde achieved a new milestone by hosting its highest-ever number of tourists, with over 835,000 visitors. This highlights the tourism sector's crucial role in the Cape Verdean economy and is further emphasised by the extensive number of trademarks filed by international applicants.

Below is a table from INE detailing the number of guests ("hóspedes") and overnight stays ("dormidas") from the years 2016 to 2022.

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Source: INE

According to the Cape Verdean's Economy Report of 2022 the nation's economic trajectory in 2022 marked a milestone by rebounding beyond its pre-pandemic state. This robust resurgence can be attributed to the revival of tourism and the removal of mobility constraints from 2021.

Additionally, policies launched in March 2022 played a pivotal role, in addressing the inflation in essential goods and fuel prices. Remarkable growth was observed in the sectors of accommodation and dining with a surge of 264.4%, followed by gains in transportation and storage at 45.8%, trade services at 34.2%, and a rise in net product taxes by 29.4%.

Where are the trademark applications?

While the economy has been growing, why hasn't there been a surge in technological advancements from local entrepreneurs, as reflected in the trademark application numbers?

One possible reason could be the cost of trademark applications. Given that the current average salary is 14,000 escudos ($138), the cost of a trademark application, which is nearly 6,500 escudos, is almost half of this amount.

Accordingly, and having this in consideration, we can observe that the use of the IP system for the benefit of the Cape Verdean society in general is still in its infancy in this jurisdiction.

In this respect, to help develop strategies that would have both positive impacts on the nation's local economy and encourage regional IP dynamisation and alertness, the Charter of the Intellectual Property Policy (CPPI) was approved on February 3, 2022.

This resolution is based on the guidelines of the National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy (PENPI) and its main aim is to promote general IP awareness and the strategic use of Intellectual Property in the nation, namely by:

  1. Improving the IP legal framework;
  2. Consolidation of systems for the administration and protection of IP rights;
  3. Promoting capacity building for better administration and use of IP rights;
  4. Raising awareness of the importance of using IP for development;
  5. Promoting the incorporation of IP into the country's development policies and programs;
  6. Encouraging the use of IP to add value and to promote creativity and innovation;
  7. Promoting the use of IP as a vehicle for encouraging the economic exploitation of intangible assets and technology transfer;
  8. Developing a balanced IP system that safeguards the public interest, especially in the areas of health, public safety and education;
  9. Promoting the country's inclusion in the international IP agenda in order to derive greater benefits for the country.

Professional IP qualifications plan

Respectively, the Institute for Quality Management and Intellectual Property (IGQPI) and the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP) have signed a partnership protocol on March 1, 2023, with the main aim to promote mutual collaboration in the qualification of professionals to prompt a better and more effective response to the local demand for technical experts in the IP sector.

Indeed, IEFP has duly supported the IGQPI's team, among many other sponsors, in their WIPO-related project aimed specifically at Cape Verde's citizens entitled "Catalysing Youth Entrepreneurship through Intellectual Property in Cabo Verde".

This specific project comprises three different stages:

  1. General IP training conducted by the WIPO Academy;
  2. IP Hackathon of 2023: the IP Hack is an online innovation marathon event which prompts young innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in order to improve their skills and knowledge about IP and its use in their companies, startups, projects and/or businesses, through a practical and problem-solving-oriented approach.
  3. Training and mentoring on IP commercialisation: In addition to the individual contribution provided by the event's sponsors, the winners of the IP hack will also receive WIPO-facilitated training and mentoring on IP commercialisation.

In fact, and since the main aim of this online innovation marathon is focused on developing impactful solutions to the country's real challenges, and ideally implementing them, the top six winners of the IP hack have also received many other prizes and incentives, which were precisely designed to positively impact the created solutions and to provide the needed support and encouragement to their implementation.

Among them, and having into consideration each associated sponsor's main field, are hours of IP consultancy, commercialisation and advanced training, IT equipment, monetary prizes to invest in modernising the businesses and even an energy quota for the top three team members as a way of reducing energy costs, thus facilitating the developed solutions and new businesses that depend on the areas of technology.

These types of initiatives will certainly bring forth additional opportunities that will cater to the population's inclusion in the IP sector, which will likely make the country more appealing to national investors.

This is a co-published article, which was originally published in the World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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