On April 25, the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane and the U.S. Department of State sponsored a workshop on Women and Intellectual Property (IP): Celebrating Innovation and Creativity to promote protections for creative professionals in the Lao PDR and facilitate collaboration among creatives.
Director General for the Intellectual Property Department at Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), Mr. Santisouk Phounsavath, President of Lao Handicraft Association, Madame Souvita Phaseuth, and U.S. Embassy Vientiane Political and Economic Chief, Mr. Dan O’Hara, co-chaired the event. The Department of Intellectual Property, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) of Luang Prabang, and the USAID Lao Business Environment (LBE) Project all made presentations during the event as well. Members of the Lao Handicraft Association, along with leading artisans and creators, attended.
The IP in Design workshop provided training from the MOIC IP Department on Laos’ online IP filing application, a presentation about LBE initiatives, and information about traditional knowledge protection tools.
“Laos’ unique cultural heritage, in particular its textile traditions, are known and appreciated around the world. “The U.S. Embassy supports MOIC in its efforts to protect Laos’s intellectual property so that artisans and creators can grow their businesses, achieve greater recognition of Lao brands, and contribute to the economic development of the Lao PDR,” said Dan O’Hara, Political and Economic Chief for the U.S. Embassy.
The U.S. government supports IP promotion and the government of the Lao PDR through a variety of programs, and through coordination with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) LBE project. LBE is a five-year project to assist the Government of Laos as it enhances the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and strengthens the country’s business environment. LBE works closely with the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on IP and brand development in Lao PDR.
Over the past decade, the United States, through USAID, has supported Lao PDR in promoting intellectual property, including the amendment of the IP law, training for officials, public-private sector discussion, and the development of the IP website and e-filing portal.
TAEC is a cultural heritage social enterprise in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, founded in 2007 to promote the appreciation and transmission of Laos’ ethnic cultural heritage and livelihoods based on traditional skills.