The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will launch a masters degree program in Intellectual Property Rights at the University of Jordan next September. WIPO, a body grouping 173 countries worldwide, said it will finance the program which will promote the use of IPR systems and means of exploiting them for economic and commercial benefits.

The program will target about 50 law students from Jordan and the Arab Gulf states who wish to pursue higher studies. It will also be extended to cover faculties of engineering, science, economy and administration at the University of Jordan.

At a later stage, WIPO will consider introducing IPR concepts to school curriculum to spread awareness on the rights granted to persons whose inventions enjoy the status of property.

Inventors are usually given by law an exclusive right over the use of their creation for a specific period of time. Mr. Sharif Saadallah, Director of the Arab Bureau at WIPO, said a number of law professors at the University of Jordan and other universities and institutes will be offered training courses on modern IPR teaching methods.

"WIPO will also offer University of Jordan advice on how to prepare a curriculum for the masters program. Besides, it will provide them with the needed equipment and facilities to carry out presentations during the course," Mr. Saadallah said during an IPR seminar which he attended in Amman, Jordan.

Jordan has recently been removed from the U.S. 301 Priority Watch List after amending IPR legislation — key instruments in securing Jordan's accession to the 136-member World Trade Organization. IPR includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications and integrated circuits. Copyright infringements are punishable by law. The penalties include either imprisonment for a period ranging from three months to three years, or a JD 1,000.00 - JD 3,000.00 (US$ 1400.00 -US$ 4200.00) fine, or both penalties.

The two-day seminar, organized by the University of Jordan in cooperation with WIPO and the National Library, brought together IPR experts from Switzerland, Britain, Egypt and Jordan to discuss IPR-related concepts, legislation and developments in the field. Mr. Saadallah said enforcing IPR motivates scientific research and helps lure local and foreign investors. He added that legal and economic incentives will foster economic growth.

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