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EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 

U.S. Embassy, University of Montevideo present conference on intellectual property rights

Prosecutor Christopher Merriam, US Department of Justice, addresses "Practical Aspects in Applying Intellectual Property Legislation in the United States"

May 12, 2004

 

Prosecutor Christopher Merriam Some 45 representatives of the Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce, the recording and film industries, the Public Ministry, AGADU and Software Legal gathered on Wednesday (May 12) in the Business Studies Institute of Montevideo to participate in a conference on intellectual property rights given by Prosecutor Christopher Merriam, of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Also present was Dr. Leonardo Costa, Assistant Deputy to the President of the Republic.

The event was co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay and by the University of Montevideo.

With Dr. Beatriz Bugallo acting as moderator, the conference opened with remarks by Dr. Mariano Brito, rector of the University of Montevideo. Dr. Brito commented that the idea of intellectual property transcended the practical aspects of legislation and the legal system, but was indicative of the human being himself, the very fruit of his mental labor.

"The right of one's intellect is life and is for life", he said.

The U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission James Williard spoke on behalf of Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein. He referred to the conference as another of the many ways in which the United States supports Uruguay in its efforts for greater economic development.

According to Williard, "Respect for property rights in general, and for intellectual property in particular, is one of the fundamental elements of our economic systems. In addition, it is an essential factor in creating a favorable climate for the attraction of national and international investments while protecting them through the maintenance of clear and stable rules."

Merriam's presentation lasted nearly an hour and a half in which he spoke on the growing problem of intellectual property crime and the varied manners in which the U.S. government, through the Department of Justice's Computer Crime and International Property Section (CCIPS), in cooperation with various national and international organizations, is working to stop the problem before it grows out of control.

He explained that intellectual property crimes are heavily influenced by market demand, and stressed the need for education and training both in the public sector and within the justice system itself.

While much of the presentation focused on copyright issues for products such as music, movies and software, Merriam made clear that intellectual property offenses could also include the counterfeiting of "hard goods" or trademarks.

"What we're really looking at is a problem that is growing rapidly, but I still think we can nip it in the bud ... provided that we
commit ourselves to making that business investment, " explained Merriam.

Following the conclusion of Merriam's presentation, Dr. Enrique Moller kicked off a brief question and answer session with an informative background section aimed at educating all present on the state of intellectual property legislation today in Uruguay.

For Christopher Merriam's complete power point presentation, click here.

For the U.S. Department of Justice's CCIPS web site, click here.

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