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ASIPI in Mexico City: day 1 report

The pan-American IP association ASIPI is celebrating its 50th birthday at its annual conference, being held this year in Mexico City. James Nurton picks out five highlights from the first day

From Acapulco to Mexico

The conference was launched with a ceremony in the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City’s historic district, which is also marking an anniversary (its 80th) this year. Among those recognised at the ceremony were all the Association’s former presidents, honoured associates and founding fathers: four of the men who were there at the birth of ASIPI in 1964 had made it to Mexico City and received a warm ovation from the audience (right). The ceremony was followed by a performance of Ballet Folklorico, featuring drumming, music and dance from various regions of Mexico (below).

History lesson

Speakers at the ceremony described how ASIPI has grown from that first tentative meeting in Acapulco to an association that has global influence, and is now recognised by organisations such as WIPO, WTO and Icann. They also noted that progress has not always been smooth, given the organisational and financial challenges of running a body that spans some 20 countries and thousands of miles, and has three official languages. José Carlos Tinoco Soares, of Tinoco Soares & Filho in Brazil, gave attendees a brief account of the history and he has also written a book “ASIPI 50 Years of History”, which you can download.

The view from Mexico

A distinguished panel of speakers opened the Congress on Monday morning. Arturo Jose Ancona of the Mexican Attorney General’s office highlighted some of the actions taken against piracy in the country. “We have been instructed to double our efforts against pirates,” he said, noting that there are on average three operations a week by specialised prosecutors. More than 130 people have been convicted of offences and more than 13 million objects seized. David Arellano Cuan of the Ministry of Interior argued for a balance between rewarding innovators and promoting health and society. “Ideas have value … and contribute to social development,” he said.

Climate change roulette

Nobel laureate and climate change researcher Mario Molina gave the keynote speech, in which he said that IP rights are “very important to incentivise innovation and technology breakthroughs” and “have a role to play to foster developments of clean technologies worldwide”. But he added that individuals had to work alongside governments collaborating internationally to tackle global warming. He also brought some striking imagery to his speech, describing Earth’s atmosphere as “thin like apple peel” and “like a cloth that warms the planet” and using a picture of two roulette wheels to illustrate the action needed.

All about education

Among the representatives of other IP associations here this week is Mei-Lan Stark, INTA President. ASIPI and INTA signed a collaboration agreement this morning, and both Stark and ASIPI President Juan Vanrell highlighted the need to work together educate children and young people about counterfeiting. “You will soon see outcomes in the region,” said Vanrell. Stark added that INTA will focus further on Latin America, particularly when it holds its annual Leadership Meeting in Panama next year.

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