An adequate and effective industrial property system is essential for economic development. Industrial property rights allow entrepreneurs to create wealth and improve profitability, by providing a legal means to protect reputation and capture some of the value of their creations. Industrial property rights also provide a vehicle for technology transfer. Economic studies show that a country’s protection of industrial property is important to its ability to compete for foreign investment and the wealth, jobs, and technology transfer associates with those investments.
Industrial property is also a factor in Mozambique’s international trade relations. As a WTO Member, Mozambique has agreed to meet international norms as set forth in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Mozambique has also joined a number of international agreements on intellectual property, including membership in the African Regional Intellectual Property Office. In addition, Mozambique is currently engaged in discussions regarding a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that may be concluded with the United States, and intellectual property is a significant issue in those discussions.
Mozambique’s intellectual property activities are governed by Mozambican law and regulations, and by international agreements to which Mozambique is a party. The industrial property system is administered by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which is responsible for policy, the Intellectual Property Institute, which is responsible for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications, and the Conservatory for Registration of Legal Entities, which is responsible for company names. Copyright and neighboring rights are the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Implementation of the rights of authors is primarily carried out by the Assoçiacão Moçambicana de Autores (SOMAS). No organization yet has responsibility for plant variety protection. Enforcement is carried out, for imported and exported goods, by the Customs authorities, and domestically, by the police, in both cases with judicial review.
To support Mozambique’s trade and development interests, the USAID-funded Trade and Investment Project (TIPMOZ) arranged for an assessment of Mozambique’s intellectual property system. The purpose of this assessment was to provide a “snapshot” of the intellectual property system, that is, a broad overview of the situation as it existed at a moment in time, and identify measures that could make the system more effective and productive. This team looked briefly at the legal framework for the protection of intellectual property, Mozambique’s participation in international intellectual property activities, particularly those administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, participation by local interests in the intellectual property system, and the organizations responsible for implementing the intellectual property system.