The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship (CoE) have recently organised a workshop titled ‘Intellectual Property for Promoting Innovation and SMEs in the Arab Region’.
The workshop provided an overview of the status and challenges of intellectual property (IP) systems in the Arab region and the role of IP in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Also, the online event discussed best practices and lessons learnt from select Arab countries on advancing IP systems in their ecosystems and presented the WIPO IP Diagnostics tool to improve the IP-readiness of innovators and SMEs.
Joelle Yazbeck, executive co-ordinator, ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship; Catherine Foster, lead, ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship; and Kareem Hassan, executive director, ESCWA Technology Centre for Development, delivered the opening and welcoming remarks.
The panel discussion titled ‘Overview of Intellectual Property in Arab Countries’ saw the participation of Dr Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, head of section, Economics and Statistics Division, and co-editor of The Global Innovation Index (GII), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO); and Dr Pierre el-Khoury, IP specialist lawyer, Law School Professor, and director of the Lawyers Institute at the Beirut Bar Association (Lebanon).
Joining the second panel discussion ‘Success Stories: IP for Promoting Innovations and SMEs’ were Souad Boussaid, technology transfer manager, National Agency for Scientific Research Promotion; and Dr Mohamed Hegazy, senior legal advisor, Chamber of Communications and Information Technology; and Dr Mamoun Taher, founder & CEO, Graphmatech.
The webinar discussed the following points: the status of intellectual property systems in the Arab region, the GII developed by WIPO, the relationship between intellectual property and innovation, the role of intellectual property in promoting entrepreneurship and SMEs, challenges and opportunities in IP systems in the Arab region, recommendations, country experiences, and the WIPO IP Diagnostics Tool.
Foster said the ICC launched the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship in 2020 to support, prepare, connect, and mobilise the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. The centre focuses on four key tracks: inspiring future entrepreneurs, digitising SMEs, scaling up startups, and fostering inclusive entrepreneurship.
She said the centre works with global, regional, and local partners to ensure that the programmes being offered are both relevant locally and regionally but also able to scale up successful programmes globally.
“The Center of Entrepreneurship is pleased to be partnering with WIPO to help entrepreneurs navigate IP regulation and better manage their intangible assets. We have great asset in the WIPO IP diagnostics tool to help entrepreneurs better understand and use intellectual property regulations.
“This is in recognition of the fact that entrepreneurs face a particular set of challenges when it comes to intellectual property issues. IP can be a complex area and obtaining protection and advice on IP can be very expensive. The lack of information on IP can make it difficult for entrepreneurs to know when they should ask for help,” Foster said.
She added: “For those reasons, we believe that capacity building is crucial and that SMEs should receive all the support they can get. An adequate IP protection strategy can make all the difference for entrepreneurs bringing innovative solutions to market and to receive a return on their investment.”
Related Story