Consultant spent three weeks in Georgia and met with business sector representatives and Sakpatenti officials. In addition, consultant conducted a series of IPR-related workshops (nine sessions) for representatives of the business sector and university students. Based upon the meetings and the series of workshops, significant work remains in order to raise IPR awareness among current and future business sector representatives sufficiently for IPR to serve as a tool for business and economic growth. Future IPR activity requires expanding the outreach to engage all elements of the IPR “system”— including the enforcement “community” that includes judges, prosecutors, and customs — so that the IPR “system” can provide a level of protection to owners that will stimulate investment and risk taking in the economy.
The IPR evaluation and resulting trip report from February 2011 identified numerous IPR-related challenges and listed many potential activities that the project could pursue in an effort to strengthen Georgia’s IPR system. Regarding government agencies, the recommendations included activities needed to increase Sakpatenti’s internal capabilities to modernize and raise efficiencies among its professional staff. Additionally, Sakpatenti was identified as the primary agency to engage in outreach in order to raise IPR awareness.
Other government entities, i.e., customs, judiciary, police, and prosecutors, were identified as specific future targets for IPR awareness raising and training regarding their specific IPR enforcement responsibilities roles in the IPR system. These government enforcement entities were identified and activities were outlined as part of a broad effort that would be necessary to create an effective IPR system.
More importantly, the February assessment concluded that the business community lacked sufficient basic IPR awareness that would allow it to use IPR to commercial advantage. Essentially, there were inadequate resources among government and the business sector to raise IPR awareness. Industry associations indicated an inadequate level of internal IPR knowledge to offer IPR awareness and education to their respective members and the business community at large. Moreover, for future business leaders, the outlook of IPR awareness was bleak due to the lack of IPR education at the university level.
Based on the February assessment, the recommendations were primarily aimed at a program of IPR awareness raising. In view of the critical need for businesses to identify assets that could be protected by the IPR legal regime, the business sector was identified as needing immediate attention.