Iran towards renewing intellectual property rights

By: Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh
November 25, 2017

Iran has a specific focus on increasing economic growth rate and seeks the target via reducing its reliance on oil revenues, as well as fostering a knowledge-based economy which is believed to have a high positive impact on increasing domestic production.

However, knowledge-based products are intangible and non-excludable goods, which makes it difficult for their creators to control their dissemination and use.

The solution comes with Intellectual property (IP) i.e. the assignment of property rights through patents, copyrights and trademarks, which has been created as economic mechanisms to facilitate ongoing innovation by granting inventors a temporary monopoly in return for disclosure of technical know-how.

IP rights are based mainly on patents for technical inventions and on copyrights for artistic works. Patents are granted only if inventions display minimal levels of utility, novelty and non-obviousness of technical know-how. By contrast, copyrights protect only final works and their derivatives, but guarantee protection for longer periods.

Although Iran has a 100-year background in setting IP rights and regulations, the existing rules are not up-to-date and do not come practical in supporting the modern and knowledge-based businesses or information technologies which are generic in the sense of being useful in many places in the economy.

Iran has started creating content in recent years, therefore, needs to update IP rules and secure copyright for the generated content or new innovations.

As a matter of fact, not securing IP rights for domestic producers has reduced cooperation among them and in result, has made them unable to compete with foreign rivals. In better words, since being creative and having noble ideas are translated into new form of capital in today’s world, setting and implementing practical IP rules can make Iranian companies capable of joining domestic stock markets and get developed to compete foreigners.

As Communication and Information Technology Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi announced in September, the administration is to present a bill to the parliament about revising the existing IP rules in the country.

The administration has also taken some major steps in improving the status quo of IP in Iran during the recent years. The State Organization for Registration of Deeds and Properties, Intellectual Property Center, was established about three years ago under Real Estate Registration Organization of Iran and the country’s judicial system.

In addition, various MOUs have been signed with international organizations who have a big name in making IP rights and putting them into practice recently.

On November 1, in a meeting between Iranian Deputy Justice Minister Ahmad-Ali Mohsenzadeh and Swiss Ambassador to Iran Markus Leitner, the two sides discussed exchange of experience in the field of IP as well as expansion of joint investments in this regard.

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