Interview with Director of Iranian  IP Training Center (IPTC)
Aug 17, 2020

Interview with Director of Iranian IP Training Center (IPTC)

National Intellectual Property Training Center (IPTC) of Iran Ministry of Justice, is known as one of the most impactful Iranian training centers that have gained significant achievement in enhancing intellectual-property infrastructure throughout the country since the year it has started its formal training activities (2017).

In addition to holding several infrastructure training courses with the partnership of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Center has had numerous other activities to promote IP rights in the country.

Due to having common goals for promoting innovation and capacity building in the field of intellectual property in the country, Kanoon IP has had so far several effective collaborations with Iranian IPTC, whether in the form of sponsorship, or partnership by offering its capacities and technical supports to IPTC.

In the following interview with Dr. Mohammad Hussein Erfanmanesh, Director of Iranian IPTC, we talked about the history, objectives, and current programs and future plans of IPTC.   

 

Before starting any question about the IPTC, please introduce yourself and tell us when did you start your activities as an IPTC director?

I am Mohammad Hussein Erfanmanesh, Director of the National Intellectual Property Training Center of Iran. I graduated with a Ph.D. Degree in the field of Law and my thesis is related to intellectual property rights. Generally speaking, I have been active in the field of intellectual property since 2010. In 2016, after approval of the MOU with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the behest of Mr. PourMohammadi, the former Justice Minister, I was appointed as director of Iranian IPTC. Thereafter, I have been working both as the communication agent of Iranian IPTC to negotiate with WIPO (Focal Point) and other foreign organizations/ institutions active in the field of IP promotion, and as director of the executive affairs to achieving the goals of the IPTC.

 

Regarding the Iranian Intellectual Property Training Center (Iranian IPTC), let's begin with this question: what was the original purpose of Iranian IPTC?

By about late 2015, on the basis of the enactment passed by the Cabinet of Ministers, a mission was given to the Ministry of Justice to design and hold the standardized training on intellectual property with the cooperation of WIPO for “a wide range” of the audience. The purpose of the establishment of the IPTC was to enhance IP Infrastructure and capacity building in the field of intellectual property rights throughout the country based on international standards and indicators. Before the establishment of the IPTC, different national departments held some independent training courses (and are still held) but the range of audiences was much more limited and the training course didn’t involve all the organizations and executive bodies with education coherently. Therefore, an integrated and coherent training system, in compliance with the international standards were quite necessary for all the executive national sectors and it required the establishment of the National IP Center.

For executing and commencing such a movement, it was necessary to conduct a series of assessments in the Ministry of Justice, so that the courses could cover the main needs of the audience and the maximum use of the IPTC was realized.

 In the early stages, it was necessary to identify all organizations and executive bodies that intellectual property rights have roles in their activities. The initial audience included the members of the council on intellectual property policy-making and coordination, which has seventeen members at the present time. Generally, the work procedure is based on the fact that there should be no limitation for participation in the training courses and any beneficiary could participate in these courses.

In 2016, the MOU between WIPO and the Ministry of Justice was signed in the term of office of Dr. Kazemi Abadi (Former Deputy of Intellectual Property Rights of Ministry of Justice) and thereafter, the Iranian IP Training Center or IPTC, as a subgroup of the Intellectual Property Department, prepared the arrangements and educational needs assessments.

 

What was the purpose of the MOU between the Ministry of Justice and WIPO?

The essence of the MOU was in fact establishment of the National Intellectual Property Training Center. WIPO formerly had the experience of establishing National Intellectual Property Centers/Academies in some countries, whether in developed countries or developing countries. Our country could also use the facilities of WIPO Academy and other organizations more effectively by establishing a specialized national academy for training purposes.

One of the main objectives of establishing the IPTC was to provide coordinated and coherent training to all the groups, institutions, agencies and organizations involved in the discussion of intellectual property in the country that the activities of them or their subsidiaries or subgroups were somehow related to the issue of intellectual property and protection of their rights.

After signing the MOU, a document titled Project Document Program was prepared as the MOU Executive Bylaw wherein the details of the WIPO standards regarding various aspects of the educational programs were reflected.

 

 

Did the WIPO consider certain conditions for approving the establishment of the national IPTCs?

At first, a government institution trusted by other organizations and institutions should undertake this responsibility. Having effective communications with other organizations/ministries, IPTC could attract the maximum participation of the national organizations/ institutions which led to promoting effective training throughout the country.

In addition to the abovementioned factor, having basic and necessary facilities for implementation of the training program was essentials, For example, having physical capacities for holding the training classes, e.g. presenting equipment, physical classes, the Internet, and …was considered as fundamental requirements. The WIPO needed to be quite sure about such facilities and conditions.  

 

 

What are the main activities of IPTC?

Although the purpose of the Iranian IPTC, at the beginning and during the aforesaid enactment, was to cooperate with WIPO to hold the enabling training courses, however, Iranian IPTC didn’t limit itself to only those courses conducted with the cooperation of WIPO. Besides, the IPTC use also other national and international capacities in order to achieve its objectives for providing all the sectors of society with coherent and standardized IP education and training.

Benefiting our valuable domestic capacities for training IP subject matters, as well as utilizing the experiences of the international organizations for support and developing the activities, are also placed on our agenda. In general, activities of the IPTC can be categorized into three main groups in terms of national and international communications.

1-     Cooperation with WIPO with focus on the promotion of intellectual property rights;

2-     Cooperate with the educational organizations, departments and institutions of other countries and utilizing their experience;

3-     Promotion and training IP knowledge by using domestic capacities.

 

Please tell us about the joint program of Iranian IPTC with WIPO. How this collaboration conducted?

The main area of the collaboration can be classified into two main areas as follows:

First, to hold the introductory IP learning courses based on implementing the MOU signed with WIPO. In fact, these courses are infrastructural educational programs and provide the basic and necessary knowledge to the beneficiary individuals and entities requiring these fundamentals.

Second, to facilitate using the more specialized courses of WIPO academy (distance learning program) for Iranian participants. With this purpose, IPTC identifies the interested activists in the field of intellectual property who require taking advanced courses in order to develop their performance. We in IPTC introduce them to WIPO for obtaining scholarships for taking advanced courses of the WIPO distance learning program.  

 

One of the main objectives of establishing the IPTC was to provide coordinated and coherent training to all the groups, institutions, agencies and organizations involved in the discussion of intellectual property in the country that the activities of them or their subsidiaries or subgroups were somehow related to the issue of intellectual property and protection of their rights.

 

Could you please explain a little more about the introductory learning courses held by cooperation with WIPO?

As I said before, the joint program includes a set of fundamental training sessions that provides essential information in the field of intellectual property to the participants. These coherent and standardized training are conducted with the joint planning of the Ministry of Justice and WIPO. Before conducting each course, precise planning is arranged with WIPO directors and experts about the educational contents, curriculums, syllabuses, lecturers, and other details.

The first period of these introductory educational series was held in May 2018 with the subject of the basics of intellectual property rights and new developments in this field. The second learning period was held in December 2018 in which various training in the field of patent rights was presented by the national and international professional lecturer for five days.

In the third short learning period which was held in July 2019 for five days, the subject was trademarks and industrial designs. According to the prearrangements, the fourth learning period, supposed to be conducted in early 2020 as the last one of the introductory educational series. Unfortunately, it was suspended due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. At the present time, we are negotiating with WIPO to hold the course online.

 

Who are the audiences of the introductory learning courses?

The preliminary selection of the audience of the training courses held by the IPTC was carried out by considering the enactment of the Cabinet of Ministers regarding these courses; it means that the primary audience of these courses is the directors and experts of the executive sectors including ministries, organizations, universities, and science and technology parks whose activities are by some means related to IP rights.

 In addition, in order to participate in a wider range of audiences, other entities such as the firms/companies which their operating relate to the field of intellectual property, the Iran Bar Association, and even the eager students who educate the field, were invited to attend. However, due to the specified limitations in the number of participants, the participants were selected through an interview.

 

From the executive sectors, 15 members of the National Policy and Coordination Councils whose operation was associated to IP rights, including Ministry of Science; Research and Technology; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Health and Medical Education; Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, Vice-Presidency of Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade; Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance; Department of Environment Organization; Iranian National Standards Organizations, National Library, and Archives; the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Ministry of Justice and other public institutions.

 

Regarding the second model of the cooperation with WIPO, how are the applicants selected for introducing to WIPO to get a scholarship in the advanced training courses?

As mentioned earlier, the main purpose of Iran IPTC is to build capacity in various fields of intellectual property throughout the country. Planning and participating in the specialized distance learning courses of WIPO will deepen the knowledge and experiences of interested individuals. Generally, the people who work in various fields of intellectual property and have passed the basic IP rights courses are the applicants for participation in these courses.

They can participate in various advanced courses of WIPO, that are normally expensive for many people due to the rise in the exchange rate, but they are free of charge for those who are introduced by the IPTC to WIPO Academy. The applicants will be introduced to WIPO after determining their qualifications (in terms of their needs and their performance in the field of intellectual property. After approval of their qualification for participation in the courses, the applicants will be introduced to WIPO for scholarships so that they can participate in the required courses without paying any cost. Qualifying the participants takes place through whether recommendation letters issued by the related organizations or through the interviews with the participants. Fortunately, so far in this short time of activity, as stated by the participants, taking these advanced courses, was very useful in order to deepen knowledge.

 

In classifying the activities of the IPTC, you also pointed to cooperation with foreign training institutions.  Please tell ore about this kind of cooperation?

Cooperating with other countries’ IP educational institutes is conducted with the purpose of utilizing their experiences, especially those institutions/ organizations that are successful in promoting intellectual property and IP protection in their country.

Iranian IPTC has made so far good interaction with some of the associated institutes/organizations in South Korea as well as with some in the EU Commission. Regarding the cooperation with South Korea, the collaboration took place either by inviting the directors, officials, and experts who worked in the promotion and training of intellectual property (such as KIPO Organization) or by holding some advanced courses by them in the country. In a visiting program, we had in South Korea, several meetings were held with the managers/officials of the visited departments in South Korea, which made us able to meet the training policy they use to promote IP in their country.  

Cooperation with South Korea resulted so far in providing an analytical report which reviewed an estimation of our educational needs in different sectors in the report.  

We have had also a short cooperation with the European Commission which resulted in holding the first training course in the field of geographic indications in 2019 early summer.  The event got also underway for three days in presence of representatives of the council on intellectual property policy-making and coordination. 

 

Please tell about IPTC activities in the country in the form of utilizing domestic capacity for building IP capacity.

After conducting the introductory training series with WIPO, our mission to promote IP throughout the country, being recognized. We had many requests from various organizations and institutions in the country for holding the courses designed for their specific purpose. The courses held so far by the IPTC in various provinces were widely welcomed by the local participants, and we received many positive feedbacks from the contributors.  

We in IPTC, have so far planned and held our training courses in various IP fields and in many provinces by utilizing our national capacities (professional national lectures). At the present time, due to the Corona outbreak, our provincial training programs despite many requests were interrupted, but we will resume our activities in the near future by conducting online webinars.   

 

What is the form of cooperation between the IPTC of the Ministry of Justice and the Kanoon IP (Iranian Patent Center)?  

Cooperation between the IPTC and Iranian Patent Center (kanoon IP) is defined in the framework of planning for the joint intellectual property training courses and developing an educational curriculum and providing specialized lecturer by Kanoon IP. There are also other Joint IP-related activities in progress, including cooperation for conduct and proposing amendment of the Patent, Industrial Designs, and Trademarks Acts.  

 

Thanks for your time and we hope that by defeating Coronavirus in the country we see the continuity of the training activities through Iran’s Intellectual Property Training Center. 

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