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Press Release

U.S. Ambassador Hails Intellectual Property Rights (November 20, 2008)

November 20, 2008. Lusaka.

LUSAKA – U.S. Ambassador Donald Booth spoke today about the importance of intellectual property rights (IPR).  His remarks came at the opening of an IPR workshop in Lusaka.  The workshop, hosted by Cycorp and the U.S. Embassy, was designed to give participants a greater appreciation of how IPR laws can benefit Zambia.

IPRs, which are the legal mechanisms–copyrights, patents, and trademarks–that ensure products are genuine and that prevent others from stealing ideas, are very much in Zambia’s social and economic interests, according to Ambassador Booth.  They encourage foreign investment, create jobs, empower entrepreneurs, create tax revenue, and promote the development of locally based industries.

“IPR is a development issue,” said the Ambassador.  “A country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment hinges on the adequacy of its IPR regime.”  The Ambassador went on to explain that in a 2005 study, Business Software Alliance added five countries, including Zambia, to its list of country’s with the highest rates of software piracy.  “I think we do not fully appreciate the extent of the damage that this inflicts on Zambia’s reputation,” he said.

The U.S. Government has enjoyed cooperation with the Zambian Government in this field, by sending Zambians to participate in courses offered by the United States Patents and Trademark Office and by strengthening Zambia’s Patents and Companies Registration Office (PACRO) through the Millennium Challenge Threshold Program.


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