The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, met with the President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Н. Е. Mr. Branko Crvenkovski on May 2, 2007, for talks on the strategic importance of intellectual property in promoting economic development and wealth creation. The Director General also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonio Milososki, the Minister of Culture, Mr. Arifhikmet Dzemaili, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mihajlo Manevski and other top officials during his visit which focused on ways to further strengthen bilateral relations between the country and WIPO. In addition, the Director General received an honorary doctorate degree from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of intellectual property as a tool for development.
In talks with President Crvenkovski, Dr. Idris said that the efficient use of the intellectual property system is a key element in spurring economic development. Dr. Idris underlined the importance of involving policy-makers in efforts to promote the creation, use and protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The Director General emphasized that efforts to raise awareness of the value of IPRs, and to reinforce intellectual property infrastructure at the national level, was a process that required the long-term commitment of policy-makers.
The Director General commended the President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for his leadership in placing intellectual property protection at the heart of the country's socio-economic development strategy. Dr. Idris also praised the Government for its commitment to strengthening the intellectual property system at the national and international levels.
President Crvenkovski said that he fully appreciated the importance of IPRs for economic development and stressed the need to support the vision and new strategic outlook towards the use of IPRs for wealth creation in Macedonia. He emphasized the importance of investing in people, education and knowledge. This, he said, was the country's greatest resource and needed to be protected. The President said that the country's cultural heritage and cultural industries were very important as they would bring new added value to his country and beyond. He underlined the importance of IPRs in this regard and emphasized the determination to cooperate with WIPO in these fields.
President Crvenkovski and Dr. Idris welcomed the mutual commitment to the further development of IPRs and their protection in the country. They further agreed on the need for more focused cooperation, in particular, in the field of national branding by using the intellectual property system to create comparative advantages and to improve the economic competitiveness of the country.
Dr. Idris and the Minister of Culture, Mr. Arifhikmet Dzemaili, agreed on the importance of the country's cultural heritage and decided to further increase cooperation in different areas including a program of activities to assess the influence of IPRs on the economic performance of sectors such as cultural industries; measures to strengthen the capacity of national collective copyright societies; measures to enhance the protection of traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge; and human resource development to strengthen intellectual property expertise in the country.
In talks with Mr. Mihajlo Manevski, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Idris reaffirmed WIPO's commitment to supporting national efforts to strengthen the intellectual property legislative framework. The Minister said that he greatly appreciated the focused discussions and exchange of views and, in particular, welcomed WIPO's assurance of further assistance in advising on questions relating to IP legislative development and enforcement in his country.
During talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonio Milososki, Dr. Idris signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further promote the development and use of the country's intellectual property system. The Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the Director General for WIPO's continued support of his Government's drive to use intellectual property as a tool to improve the country's economic performance, and to promote broad-based awareness and better use of the intellectual property system with a view to attracting higher levels of foreign investment.
The Director General also met with Mr. Bajram Ameti, Director of the State Office of Industrial Property (SOIP), during which they discussed and agreed upon the further strengthening of cooperation between WIPO and SOIP.
Dr. Idris also had an opportunity to meet with Professor Dr. Gale Galev, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Professor Dr. Mirjana Polenak Akimovska, Director of the IPR Center in the Faculty of Law in the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. During these talks it was agreed that WIPO would offer its support in strengthening the teaching of intellectual property at the University.
At an award ceremony at Ss. Cyril Methodius University, Dr. Idris was granted an honorary doctorate by the Rector of the University, Mr. Gjorgji Martinovski, together with a "Lustinianus Primus" Plaque. The award was given in recognition of his efforts to promote the development of the intellectual property system as a strategically important tool for economic development and wealth creation.