Intellectual Property Rights and their Exploitation under the Sudanese Laws and TRIPs Agreement

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Awad Mohamed Hassan, Samia
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Up to recent times the concept of intellectual property was not clearly known in the society. At best it is a mysterious subject even for some of the knowledgeable people. There is no curricula at the universities to deal with Intellectual Property issues. It does seem that this situation was the case for the Sudan and other countries of the third world save for scattered references to the trade marks and to the rights in literary and artistic works relevant to songs and poems. This observation is no longer true, at least after the Marrakech Agreement which established the WTO. Our basic concern lies on the modern concept of Intellectual Property that started with the British Royal Decrees that availed the printing presses the privileges till the issuance of Queen Ann Statute of 10th April 1710 as a remarkable development in printing of books and other written works. The interaction that took place afterwards between the European countries opening the door for the exchange of commodities and ideas across the borders led to the solid understanding about the necessity of safeguarding the intellectual property rights outside the borders which called upon the European industry and patent owners to convene an international conference at Berne in Switzerland resulting in the Paris Agreement for Protection of Industrial Property in 1883.The Berne Agreement for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1886 followed three years later. Since then, international law has been in continuous development in adopting protection of Intellectual Property rights through national legislations or through bilateral or multilateral Agreements. Further, after about a century, the international community gathered to xxxv discuss the subject of international trade. The Uruguay session on the discussion of multi – party trade started in 1986 and finalized in 1994 upon execution of Marrakech Agreement of International Trade creating the World Trade Organization, which entered into force on 18th January, 1995.One of the Annexes to the Agreement deals with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). The Agreement stipulates, for the first time, direct clauses committing the member states to safeguard intellectual property. The thesis discusses intellectual property rights and their exploitation. It also suggests amendment of the intellectual property laws in the Sudan in order to cope with the technical and technological developments and to match with the Trips Agreement to which the Sudan is seeking accession. The thesis relies on relevant international agreements, as well as the domestic laws, namely, English law, and the American law. An attempt is made to compare these sources with the Sudanese law. The thesis is in ten chapters. The first chapter addresses the nature of intellectual property rights and the purposes of the intellectual property law including its historical background and the developments made in this area. The second chapter addresses the economic aspects of intellectual property. The third chapter deals with the copyright and related rights with emphasis on the protected rights, duration and limitations on the rights. The fourth and fifth chapters address patents and trade marks respectively. The Sixth chapter discusses the transfer of copyright and related rights. The transfer of industrial property rights (patents and trade marks) is dealt with in the seventh chapter. The eighth and ninth chapters deal respectively with the licensing of copyright and related rights, and the licensing of industrial xxxvi property rights. The tenth chapter sums up the thesis and makes recommendations. One of the recommendations is the idea that the comprehensive legislation of intellectual property coupled with effective enforcement mechanism and specialized speedy judiciary process can positively affect the Sudan's future in the areas of intellectual property. In fields of intellectual property advantage should be taken of the World –wide network systems in promoting copyrighted materials and the folklore of other countries. Also, the Sudan must amend its intellectual property laws and procedures; establish necessary new laws according to the state of development of trade in intellectual property areas; continue to improve the existing management and enforcement mechanisms to cope with the recent advances in world trade systems, and establish a national body to study the possible areas where it has a comparative or competitive advantage in intellectual property matters.
Intellectual Property Rights, Exploitation,Sudanese Laws, TRIPs Agreement