GIS - 22 May, 2019: A one-day workshop on the development of an Intellectual Property (IP) and a branding strategy for Dodo handicrafts opened this morning, in presence of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, the Ambassador of Japan to Mauritius, Mr Yoshiharu Kato, and Senior Counsellor, Regional Bureau for Africa, Development sector, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Ms Loretta Asiedu, at the Le Labourdonnais Hotel in Port-Louis.
In his address, Minister Bholah said that Government is determined to promote an entrepreneurial culture and to address the main problems faced by local handicrafts sector, namely the illicit use or sale of products and assets of Mauritius. He deplored the fact that many entrepreneurs do not adequately protect the IP assets which they generate during their production and value chain.
According to him, there is a need to foster understanding about the protection of such resources as they have tremendous commercial value and can generate higher revenue. In the case of Dodo crafts, he said, branding will be used to improve the business competitiveness of Mauritian-made products, capture the goodwill and reputation of locally manufactured handicrafts as well as contribute to increasing the exports of these products.
The Minister highlighted that the workshop provides an opportune platform to discuss and to adopt a work programme for the branding strategy development and implementation for dodo handicrafts. He expressed his gratitude to the WIPO and the Government of Japan for their technical support and assistance and reiterated his intent upon protecting and consolidating the IP rights of craftsmen in the handicraft industry.
For his part, Ambassador Kato spoke of Japan’s commitment to continue providing assistance and support for the overall development of African countries. He stated that Brand value projects help create an identity on the global market and attract more investment opportunities. With regard to the branding of Dodo handicrafts, he added that quality, productivity, and branding are key elements in revitalising the handicraft sector and maintaining its universal competitiveness.
As for Ms Loretta Asiedu, she spoke about the importance of creating an intellectual property and a branding strategy for dodo handicrafts while adding that this is a good opportunity for Mauritius to distinguish its locally-manufactured handicrafts on the global platform. It is important, she said, to protect local businesses with proper legal frameworks so as to protect their rights and reinforce their uniqueness. Creating a strong brand identity can help businesses grow, retain customer trust and encourage more economic opportunities for future development, she added.
More about the project
The IP and Branding project is being organised by the WIPO in collaboration with the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, and the Japan Patent Office, under the Japan Funds-in-Trust. The main objective is to capture intangible values associated with the distinctive characteristics of locally manufactured Dodo handicrafts.
The project is part of the recommendations of the National Intellectual Property Development Plan that was reviewed in 2016. A feasibility report submitted by the WIPO focused on the branding of three products namely Dodo crafts, special sugar and rum and it recommended that the branding of dodo crafts be chosen as a pilot project.
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