Mauritius is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Berne Convention.
In Mauritius, the legislative framework for IPR enforcement initially provided for the protection of copyrights, trademarks, patents, with the Patents Act 1875, the Trademarks Act 1868 and the Copyright Act 1986 being the oldest legislation. The IPR enforcement mechanism took a new turn in 1995 when the TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement of the World Trade Organization came into effect. In order to conform the country's legislation to the principles and obligations laid down in the TRIPS, new pieces of legislation were adopted, namely:
- The Copyright Bill
- The Patent, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Act 2002
- The Protection against Unfair Practices, Industrial Property Rights Act 2002
- The Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act 2002
- The Geographical Indications Act 2002
However the Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act 2002 and the Geographical Indications Act 2002 have not yet been proclaimed.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Given the prominent role that Intellectual Property (IP) plays on the economic and cultural development, it was considered imperative that Mauritius’ Intellectual Property policy be reinforced so as to mainstream IP in its economic and social development and to promote innovation and creativity. In order to achieve this objective, an Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) has been developed with the assistance of WIPO. The IPDP seeks to ensure, amongst others, that the organizations involved in IP enforcement, the potential users as well as generators of IP have the technical capacity and know-how to use IP as a tool to promote research, innovation, investment and economic growth.
The IPDP recommends, amongst others, that the following be implemented:
- Finalize and enact the IP Bill;
- Expedite the accession process to the PCT, Madrid Protocol and Hague Agreement;
- Establishment of a single IP office based on international best experiences;
- Strengthen the legal framework to cover protection of new plant varieties;
- Provide IP promotional materials such as the PANORAMA Multimedia Toolkit and WIPO comic books and support their translation into the country’s national languages; and
- Design and implement intellectual property awareness programs tailored to meet the needs of enforcement officers and create and strengthen awareness of consumers on the adverse impact of IPRs infringement.
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