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The importance of intellectual property for society as a whole discussed at meetings with presidents

Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), met with the President of the Republic of Slovenia, the President of the National Assembly, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport. They discussed the importance of intellectual property as a catalyst for development for society as a whole.

At the invitation of the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han and the Director of the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) Karin Žvokelj, Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), visited Slovenia from 24 to 26 September 2023.

Slovenia, in cooperation with WIPO, is preparing its first national intellectual property (IP) strategy. An analysis of the state of IP in Slovenia is currently being finalised and will form the basis for the formulation of the strategy, namely the strategic objectives and the most appropriate measures to achieve them.

During his visit, Mr Tang met with the political leadership and a wide range of IP stakeholders.

Together with the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, they discussed in particular the role and potential of IP protection and valuation in achieving the sustainable development goals, in particular climate change and gender equality.

Despite women's important contribution to innovation and creativity, there is a gender gap in participation in the IP rights system. Director-General Tang briefed the President on the education and training programmes that WIPO is implementing to empower women in various aspects of intellectual property - including IP management, patenting, trademark registration and technology commercialisation.

The President of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, briefly presented the current issues facing Slovenia, highlighting the catastrophic floods in August and the reconstruction work that is being intensively carried out. Director-General Tang said that climate change, which brings extreme weather events, is one of the important areas of WIPO's work, adding that creativity and innovation stemming from intellectual property can be the solution to climate change. He is also encouraged by the fact that both science and countries are working more intensively on this pressing issue. The two speakers also touched on the organisation's other projects, particularly those promoting gender equality.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papič and Director-General Tang discussed the practical aspects of intellectual property and its inclusive role. They agreed that more promotion and effort should be put into encouraging women to use the various IP mechanisms and to strive for the necessary balance between IP protection systems, scientific publications and open access to knowledge.

Minister Papič stressed that it is important for cooperation between industry and science to agree on intellectual property, where the key is to evaluate the impact expected from an innovative solution. Director-General Tang offered WIPO's assistance in transferring practices from a global perspective, as well as advice on practical solutions in identifying key indicators and models for collaboration. The two also agreed that, especially in the light of new technologies, we need to address intellectual property as a cross-cutting theme that connects the players in the innovation ecosystem.

At the meeting with the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han, Director General Tang presented WIPO's efforts to make intellectual property not just an abstract subject for experts, but a catalyst for development, job creation, attraction of foreign investment and growth of the Slovenian economy. The aim is that those who register patents and trademarks will do so because it will benefit their development and growth and, most importantly, because it will make it easier for them to bring their products to the market and market them.

Minister Han pointed out that intellectual property rights are part of a company's intangible assets and as such they increase the value of investments and competitiveness of the company. This is why the Ministry, together with the SIPO, wants to strengthen cooperation with WIPO in the field of valuation of intellectual property and thus take into account the value of rights as assets of companies also in insurance. The Minister welcomed the good cooperation between Slovenia and WIPO in the preparation of the first national strategy to stimulate innovation and creativity in the Slovenian economy. He said that Slovenia and WIPO are also linked by other joint projects, which pay particular attention to small, medium-sized and start-up companies, sustainable innovation and respect for traditional knowledge. He added that only through innovative solutions and their protection can the competitiveness of the economy be ensured, which is why the Ministry and the Office will continue their efforts to bring intellectual property closer to all users.

After the meeting, the Director of the SIPO Karin Žvokelj expressed her satisfaction with the political support for the preparation of the national strategy. She considered all the meetings as very successful, as they deepened the strategic dialogue on IP and, consequently, also raised awareness on the importance of IP rights. She stressed the importance of a well-functioning and balanced system of IP rights protection that fosters innovation and creativity, and thus economic growth and the progress of society as a whole.