The huge economic potential of the creative industries was at the heart of talks between the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, in Sofia on July 5, 2007. Discussions focused, in particular, on the dynamism of the creative industries sector and its potential to generate employment and promote trade and wealth creation. Discussions also underlined the strategic importance of intellectual property in the development of both the creative industries sector and the national economy in general.
During his visit, Dr. Idris also met other top officials, including Mr. Stefan Danaliov, Bulgaria's Minister of Culture, Mr. Kostadin Manev, President of the Patent Office of Bulgaria and Mr. Liubomir Kyuchukov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,to review existing cooperation between the Organization and Bulgaria. Dr. Idris also presented the results of a comprehensive study on the economic contribution of Bulgaria's creative industries which show the enormous potential of the sector as a driver of the country's economy.
In talks with President Parvanov, Dr. Idris welcomed the expanding cooperation between WIPO and Bulgaria which has in recent years included activities to promote the strategic use of IP for development, capacity building programs, technical and legal assistance, and public outreach. They emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in raising public awareness of the critical importance of intellectual property to development. The Director General applauded Bulgaria's efforts to use the intellectual property system for wealth creation and welcomed efforts by the Government of Bulgaria to enhance the development of the country's intellectual property infrastructure, including, in particular, in the field of intellectual property legislation. He further commended national efforts to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights.
A common thread in the Director General's discussions in Bulgaria was a pledge to further support research and capacity building programs in the following areas: the fight against copyright piracy, the training of creators in the management of their intellectual property assets, awareness-raising activities for the judiciary, and educational programs for students. In light of the wealth of Bulgaria's cultural heritage, the Director General also reaffirmed the Organization's support for a project aimed at protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
At a presentation at the University of National and World Economy, the leading academic institution in Bulgaria for teaching of intellectual property, Dr. Idris noted the findings of a recent study assisted by WIPO which revealed the dynamism of Bulgaria's creative sector and its significant contribution to the national economy. Dr. Idris also pledged WIPO's support in the implementation of the study's recommendations.
The study, which was initiated in July 2006, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, showed that during the period 2003-2005 this sector exceeded the national average rate of economic growth and grew by some 50%. In 2005, Bulgaria's creative industries accounted for 4.51% of the gross output of the country and 3.42% of the gross value added. In terms of employment, the study further illustrated that copyright industries employed some 105,000 people, representing 4.3% of the total employment in the country. Over a three-year period the employment growth rate in this sector was more than triple the national average rising to 13.3% as compared to the national average of 3.5%. This sector generates more jobs than "hotels and restaurants" and "agriculture" sectors. The Rector of the University, Professor Borislav Borissov, highlighted the importance of the study for identifying intellectual property, and in particular the creative industries, as a pillar and driver of the Bulgarian economy.
The leading copyright industries in Bulgaria are the publishing industry, software and databases, radio and television, motion pictures and video, music, and visual arts. While book publishing and software and databases are the two largest copyright-based industries, the greatest growth is registered in production and distribution of motion pictures and video – which has tripled in the past three years, registering a growth rate of 166%. The second most dynamic growth area is software and databases – which registered 93% growth in that period, followed by architecture, which grew in terms of value added by 81% and in terms of employment by 16% in that same period.
WIPO is currently engaged in assisting similar studies in more than 20 countries. The studies are based on a methodology developed by WIPO for surveying the economic contribution of copyright-based industries. The empirical data generated by these studies is being used to inform and support policy-making in many countries.
Dr. Idris also met with Mr. Kostadin Manev, Head of the President of the Patent Office of Bulgaria, to review cooperation with WIPO. Dr. Idris welcomed efforts by the Office to the continued modernization of the patent system of the country and to improving the delivery of quality services, including the introduction of electronic filing of patents.