Italian Foreign Minister
This conference focused on individual aspects of IP, which has become a key sector in today's international markets. Among participants, the Italian Minister for Economic Development, Flavio Zanonato, and the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Francis Gurry.
Ambassador Michele Valensise, Italian MFA Secretary General, opened the conference highlighting the importance of protecting the "Made in Italy" brand: "Protecting geographical indications in third countries is a challenge for our enterprises, which are faced with difficulties arising from gaps in the legislative framework. [...] In difficult economic times, original and creative works can help improve our country's competitiveness and our enterprises' penetration in complex markets".
According to Minister Bonino, quality and innovation can become a competitive advantage for SMEs only if protected at the global level. Therefore, she further stressed that, especially for Italy, whose economy consists primarily of small and medium-sized enterprises IP protection is crucial not only to maintain its current position, but also "to revitalise the country's growth [...] The Italian economy has an added value - quality - which needs to be safeguarded. And quality is crucial if we are to operate successfully in an international market open to competitors who have the advantage of lower production costs."
It is interesting to highlight that figures produced by a joint study by the European Patents Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) confirms Minister Bonino's words. The report, on the impact of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on the European economy, shows that in 2008-2010, 26% of employment in the European Union was in IPR-intensive industries. Over the same period, these industries generated 39% of the EU's total GDP.