St. Kitts and Nevis’ Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Valston Graham was one of the global professionals invited to present before the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. On September 4th 2019, Mr. Graham joined a panel of two judges, one from the Russian Federation and the other from the United Kingdom and presented at the 14th Session of the ACE on the topic, “Judicial and Prosecutorial Discretion in Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement Proceedings”. His presentation explored the challenges and considerations in determining whether an IP infringement should be prosecuted in circumstances where the law gives the prosecutor discretion to make such a choice. The Conference audience was comprised of representatives of Member States and observer organizations of WIPO from across the world.
In July 2017, the IP Office of St. Kitts and Nevis (IPOSKN),in collaboration with WIPO, hosted a national IP enforcement seminar for local law enforcement officials and Magistrates, in an attempt to raise local IP awareness. At that seminar, Mr. Graham made a presentation on “Investigating and Prosecuting IP Crime”. Ms. Louise Van Greunen, Director of the Building Respect for Intellectual Property Division in WIPO’s Global Issues Sector was present at the local seminar and was so impressed with his expert delivery and insightful analysis of the topic, that she invited him to share at the international level.
“Presenting at the 14th Annual WIPO/ACE Conference was a great opportunity”, Mr. Graham said. “It allowed for our voice to resonate on the international stage on an international matter. It also gave me an opportunity to dialogue with experts in various areas of intellectual property rights. This opportunity came at a time when the IPOSKN continues to make tremendous progress in promoting IP rights and increasing awareness. My department is now positioned to better assess and deal with infringements of IP rights. I am appreciative of the support of Registrar (Ag.) Jihan Williams, and the WIPO for their support and confidence in making this possible. I look forward to greater engagement between my Office and the IPOSKN.”
Other topics that were explored at the September 2nd to 4th 2019 ACE Conference included New Technologies in IP Enforcement, Institutional Arrangements to Address Online IP infringements and the Role of Intermediaries in IP enforcement. The latter included presentations from high-level representatives from Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook and Google on their corporate efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy on their popular websites.
The Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) was established in 2002 with a mandate to carry out technical assistance and coordination in the field of enforcement of IP Rights. Their mandate focuses mainly on training and assisting member States of WIPO to develop and enforce national measures towards combating counterfeiting and piracy. Counterfeiting occurs when fake goods are produced with identical imitations of brand trademarks while piracy is unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material such as music, movies and books. Both counterfeiting and piracy are illegal in St. Kitts and Nevis and carry severe civil and criminal penalties. For more information on IP in St. Kitts and Nevis, please visit the IPOSKN website at www.ipo.gov.kn