GUST celebrated the World Intellectual Property Day

In celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day, the A. M. Al-Refai Library in coordination with the U.S. Embassy organized an event dated April 26, 2011. The event entitled ‘Designing the Future’ held at the GUST auditorium, opened by Dr. Lee Caldwell, Dean of the College of Business Administration and the U.S. Ambassador, Deborah Jones, was well-attended by the Management, faculty, staff and students at GUST. The panelists included Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Founder of the 99 comics, Shamlan Al-Bahar, Managing Director of the Proteges, and Dr. Anadel Al-Matar, Chairwoman of IPR Society and Kuwait Bar Association.

Dr. Lee Caldwell introduced the Ambassador, who in her opening speech said: “Today, some are more interested in making money than protecting any intellectual property.” She talked about the meaning and the importance of intellectual property in creating motivation. The Ambassador also touched on the fact that her time here in Kuwait is soon coming to an end, “I really enjoyed my time here. We found some great challenges and successes along the way and looking at all you bright students, Kuwait’s future looks promising. I look forward to see all of your names in the newspapers talking about all the great inventions you’ve come up with.”

The speech was followed by the panel discussing the role of Intellectual Property in Promoting Innovative and Entrepreneurial Endeavors in Kuwait.

First to speak was Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Clinical Psychologist, Founder of The 99 comics and CEO of Teshkeel Media, spoke on the role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in running an international media company and the importance of protecting those rights. Dr. Al-Mutawa described the instances he has personally known on the violation of IPR in Kuwait, wherein logos and identities of stores and restaurants have been stolen and used elsewhere (ex. Baroue store, became a Baroue nursery too). He explained how important it was for him while working on The 99 to pay close attention to its rights and safeguard its credibility and identity. The 99 was on the cover of Newsweek.” not to mention the critical acclaim received from the President of the U.S. himself, Barrack Obama.

 

The second panelist, Dr. Anadel Al-Matar, Chairwoman of IPR Society at Kuwait Bar Association and Legal Consultant, talked about the legal challenges faced in Kuwait in protecting IPR, combating the problem of unlicensed software in Kuwait, and the role of IPR in developing e-commerce, where she mentioned that Kuwait was on the world watch list for IPR violations.

The third and final panelist, Shamlan Al-Bahar, Entrepreneur and Managing Director of the Proteges and Pink Coffee Marketing and PR, spoke on the significance of IPR in establishing a business in Kuwait, protecting creative and marketing ideas, and encouraging entrepreneurs through this process. He spoke about how many ideas, once talked about can be stolen and created into something (that you know was your idea) by someone you trusted and did not have your vision. This had happened to Al-Bahar many times and he stated: “Many will not have the motivation to go forward and come up with new ideas once such a thing happens to them, we therefore need to protect and encourage these entrepreneurs to visualize their ideas in a safe haven.”

Towards the end, the audience asked the panelists some questions to which they received satisfying answers. On the whole, the event was successful; an experience that was informative and eye-opening.