Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
217. The representative of Uganda recalled that Uganda had responded to the Council's 2005 decision with submissions to the Council (IP/C/W/500 and IP/C/W/510). A detailed programme (Uganda Trade and Intellectual Property Program - UTIP) had been formulated from the needs assessment, outlining priority technical assistance projects within an overall national capacity building programme on trade, IP and TRIPS for Uganda. Uganda had had great challenges in implementing this programme. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives could not secure funding to implement the activities as identified in the project document including the establishment of a secretariat. Funding received had been ad-hoc and often not coordinated as earlier on expected. 218. Despite these constraints, progress had been made. The IP laws enacted since 2005 included (i) the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (2006) and Regulations (2010); (ii) the Trade Secrets Act (2009); (iii) amendment of the Trademark Act (2010); and (iv) various regulations (2012). The following bills were before Parliament: (i) the Industrial Property Bill (2009); and (ii) the Geographical Indications Bill (2009). 219. Other activities included technical assistance and capacity building to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau in the following areas: (i) IP automation system for trademark registration; (ii) capacity building programme on IP policies for universities, some of which had resulted in some universities coming up with IP policies; (iii) training for several officers in the IP office and in the Ministry of Justice and for private practitioners in a Master's programme at Africa University and Turin; and (iv) the establishment of the Technology and Innovation Support Centre at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. 220. Uganda had also received some assistance in developing a branding strategy for vanilla, Shea butter, cotton and sesame seed. This programme was aimed at improving market access of Uganda's unique products and would eventually make producers appreciate the importance of IP as a valuable tool for market access. 221. Since 2005, Uganda had realized great achievements in making legal reforms, including updating some IP laws and regulations, as well as some limited training of IP professionals. However, there were several activities that had been identified in the programme which were yet to be funded. Uganda still had weak institutions and institutional linkages; awareness was still very low; some laws were yet to be enacted; new laws and regulations had financial implications; and Uganda still had to develop the capacity and ability to use IP for development. Considering that there were some IP laws that had not yet been put in place, coupled with a weak technological base, Uganda would require time to implement the TRIPS Agreement fully.