United States and Industry Ministry Organize Workshop on World Intellectual Property Day

Weaving fabric in Laos. ( Photo: Napong Restaurant)

The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce hosted a workshop on Tuesday to promote protections for creative professionals in Laos and facilitate collaboration among creatives.

With support from the U.S. Department of State, 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.

The event was held under the theme “Women and Intellectual Property (IP) Celebrating Innovation and Creativity” on World Intellectual Property Day.

“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 Laos,” said Dan O’Hara, Political and Economic Chief for the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. government supports IP promotion and the government of Laos 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 Laos.

Over the past decade, the United States, through USAID, has supported Laos 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.

Director General for the Intellectual Property Department at the 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.

TAEC is a cultural heritage social enterprise in Luang Prabang, Laos, founded in 2007 to promote the appreciation and transmission of Laos’ ethnic cultural heritage and livelihoods based on traditional skills.