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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

28 July 2015​

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Press Statement: ​85 ​organisations from 51 ​​countries ​call for stronger intellectual ​​property protection

​27 July, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Today, amid global debates on trade and regulatory reforms, an international coalition of 85 organizations from 51 countries calls for global policymakers to give serious consideration to the integral role that the IP rights of innovators, creators and entrepreneurs plays in economic, technological and cultural advancement.

The Southeast Asia Network for Development (SEANET), which a project of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), joins this international coalition.

Signatories argue that policymakers should focus on preserving and enhancing IP protections by seeking solutions to systemic IP theft and damage.

An open letter was sent to the Director of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Dr. Francis Gurry, in support of strong protections for all types of IP and the letter can be accessed here.

The letter offers governments and NGOs guidelines on the protection of the rule of law, transparency, and the international protection of property rights, which must be part of the backbone of any free market economy in the 21st century.

IP is fundamental, the groups argue, to promoting free speech, free trade, and fair competition.  Creators and innovators must be protected from theft and counterfeit. As Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights points out, intellectual property rights are human rights crucial to moral and material well being.

SEANET Director​,​ Wan Saiful Wan Jan said​ “Protection of intellectual property rights is very important for a modern and prosperous economic system.  It provides strong incentives for individuals and firms to produce and accumulate capital that can be invested for further development.  If ASEAN wants to grow, we must give particular attention to IP protection because this will galvanise innovation and growth.”

Wan Saiful added “There are still serious challenges, such as patent and copyright infringements, in the ASEAN region.  We need to address this. If we want to reap the benefits of the ASEAN Economic Community, we must institute robust intellectual property laws, because heightened IP protection would attract more IP-intensive industries to invest in the ASEAN​ market​”​. Wan Saiful also added: “Singapore is an ASEAN country that has the ambition of becoming an Asian IP Hub.  Other ASEAN countries too should look at how Singapore is developing their IP protection regime.”

The letter to WIPO Director affirms the following:

– Rule of Law, Property, and a Transparent Political Environment are the Foundation of Fair and Prosperous Societies

– Intellectual Property Rights are Affirmed in International Treaties as a Human Right

– Intellectual Property Rights Promote Free Speech and Expression

-Intellectual Property Rights are Integral to Consumer Protection and Global Security

– Strong Intellectual Property Rights and Contractual Freedom Promote Free and Competitive Markets

– Intellectual Property Rights are Vital to Economic Competitiveness

– Intellectual Property Rights Must Be Protected Through Effective IP Provisions in Trade Agreements

– Intellectual Property Rights Must Be Respected and Protected on the Internet

The letter concludes by stating:

“Advanced societies have long understood that by protecting the proprietary rights of artists, authors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors, they were promoting the greater public welfare. The continued protection of these fundamental rights is essential to global innovation, creativity and competitiveness.”

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About SEANET

The Southeast Asia Network for Development (SEANET) is a regional research and advocacy centre that promotes policy ideas to make ASEAN’s growth more inclusive and sustainable. SEANET believes in three key principles: inclusive development, property rights and free movement of people and goods. SEANET conducts research and advocacy to catalyse the adoption of market-friendly principles, particularly by inviting opinion-shapers to analyse evidence of how free trade can speed up national and regional growth. SEANET is a project of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges in the country. Since its launch on 8 February 2010, IDEAS has been ranked as the best new think tank in Asia by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tank and Civil Society Programme.

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Media enquiries:

IDEAS (+60-3) 6201 8896/ 8897

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