A US diplomat yesterday said that the UAE is currently under review for possible removal from the US 301 Special Watchlist of countries monitored for violation of intellectual property rights. The UAE Ministry of Finance and Industry is going through the final revision of a draft amendment of the patents and designs law to comply with global trade standards.
It is expected to be forwarded to the Cabinet afterwards, the US diplomat told the 'Gulf News'. "This is the usual time for reviewing countries on the US 301 Special Watchlist and the UAE is one of those being reviewed. We would like to see something done soon on the patent law because passing it will help the UAE to be removed from the watchlist," said the diplomat.
"Talks were held with Abu Dhabi officials on the progress made in some areas of intellectual property rights, basically pharmaceuticals. More discussions will be held for further developments," David Curtin Litt, US Ambassador to the UAE, told the 'Gulf News'. He said the US Government provided the UAE with the "language" for pipeline protection - protection of a product while being prepared or 'in the pipeline'.
"We asked the UAE for protection of patents, research on them and pipeline so that copyright violators would not steal the medical product while studies are being conducted," he explained. The diplomat said the Embassy gave neither positive nor negative recommendations on the removal of the UAE from the Watchlist because the Government has not asked it for comments.
Earlier, Ashok Sharma, the Dubai-based regional spokesman for the Business Software Alliance, BSA, told the paper that the BSA is recommending the UAE's removal from the Watchlist as the country has succeeded in reducing the rate of piracy to 72.0%, as at the beginning of 1997, from 88.0% in the previous year.
"We want to see the UAE de-listed as it is moving in the right direction. It will have a European environment for intellectual protection and, as soon as that is done, more investments in computer software will flow," he said, while stressing that the Watchlist involves other industries like motion pictures, sound recordings, entertainment and pharmaceuticals, each of which has its own associations to comment on the subject of removal.
Ambassador Litt and other US diplomats said they would like to see some amendments in the Copyright Law, especially pertaining to registration of motion pictures and sound recordings. "What concerns us is the registration of CDs and movies and whether they can be automatically protected in the UAE when they are already protected in the US," said the diplomat. (The Gulf News)
Under Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture Saqr Ghobash on Tuesday said that the UAE has paid paramount attention to the issue of copyright protection both at the legislative and executive levels.
Addressing a seminar on the latest advances in enforcement of copyright laws, Ghobash said that holding such seminars on a regular basis is of great importance, not only because they provide training for the staff who implement the copyright law, a new field for them, but also because they introduce the latest developments in the field of informational technology.
"The Ministry of Information and Culture has succeeded in achieving major progress both in the implementation of the copyright law and in its endeavours to put an end to various types of intellectual piracy," he said.
He added that the local media has done a great deal in this respect by explaining the law, highlighting its significance and raising public awareness on its dimensions and applications.
"We are in the process of achieving a project to amend the intellectual property and copyright law applicable in the UAE to refer it to the proper bodies to finalise its discussion and ratification," he said. The opening ceremony was attended by the Ministry's Assistant Under Secretary for the Northern Emirates Affairs, Habib al Ridha.
The seminar was also addressed by representatives of three international companies: the Business Software Alliance, BSA, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry, IFPI, and the Motion Picture Association, MPA.
"In the UAE, the local authorities have played an excellent role in enforcing the existing copyright laws which were passed to prevent all cases of copyright violations," Ashok Sharma, director of BSA Middle East said.
The seminar programme included discussions on the current situation regarding the enforcement of copyright laws in the Middle East, as well as identifying crisis areas where legislation is ignored or non-existent. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)
The General Postal Authority, GPA, will issue a set of four commemorative stamps on March 15 to mark the start of the biennial Triple International Defence Exhibition, TRIDEX, series which will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 15 - 19.
Organised by the Military Committee for International Defence Exhibitions, CODEX, this specialised exhibition will be held every two years, alternating with he International Defence Exhibition, IDEX, series.
TRIDEX '98 will be focusing on the fastest-growing fields within defence and defence-related industries - namely, electronic warfare, communications training, simulation, logistics and security.
Held on the sidelines of the exhibition will be the conference, TRICON '98, which will feature military and civilian specialists addressing the latest strategies and developments on defence-related topics. The GPA stamps will be released in Dh 0.5, Dh 1, Dh 1.5 and Dh 350 denominations. (The Gulf Today)
The annual Emirates International Forum, EIF, will kick off next week with a keynote address by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed. To be held at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel from March 17 - 19, the dominant theme of the event will be 'The Interactive World: Forces for Change'.
Industry-specific issues are to be discussed at the Forum, which is expected to be attended by up to 700 delegates. The Malaysian premier will be joined on the speakers' panel by Lebanon's Minister of State for Finance Fuad Siniora and Syria's Minister of Tourism Danho Daoud.
The EIF is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The Forum's honorary Chairman is General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, while Ahmed Humaid al Tayer, Minister of Communications, is the deputy honorary Chairman.
The Forum was founded in 1994 through a joint initiative between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, DCCI, the Dubai Ports Authority, DPA, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, JAFZ, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the Emirates Bank International, EBI. (The Gulf News)
Studies under way by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey on the island of Merawah, west of Abu Dhabi, are continuing to uncover important new information about the country's ancient heritage, an ADIAS spokesman said yesterday.
In several seasons of work on the island, ADIAS teams have identified two main phases of occupation. One is from the Late Islamic period, covering the period from around the Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century onwards.
In investigations earlier this year, an ADIAS team identified a group of around 160 hearths and a carefully designed water catchment system near the western end of the island, evidence of the skill with which the island's former inhabitants made use of the scanty supplies of rainfall in order to make it possible to survive on the island.
Other evidence of water catchment systems has been found by ADIAS on a number of other islands, from Balghelam, north east of Abu Dhabi, to Kafai and Ghagha' in the extreme west of the UAE. Perhaps of greater significance, however, and certainly much older, is evidence of occupation during the Late Stone Age, around 6,000 to 7,000 years ago.
A major site from the period was found several years ago on the south-western tip of the island, and in further studies in January this year, several dozen simple stone structures were identified, as well as over 100 flint tools, including arrowheads, scrapers and knives. Close to the site are a group of over a dozen stone cairns, one of which was excavated last year, yielding a complete human skeleton.
No stone tools or other artefacts were found with the burial that would permit dating, however, while extensive efforts in laboratories in both Australia and New Zealand to obtain a satisfactory Carbon 14 dating proved inconclusive.
In an effort to clarify the age of the cairns and their relationship, if any, to the Late Stone Age site, a new season of excavations commenced on the island last week, during which more of the cairns will be examined.
The work is being undertaken by a three-member Australian team comprising Soren Blau, an archaeologist from the University of Sydney who has extensive experience excavating elsewhere in the Emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah, and Nadia Iacono and Graham Wilson, from Sydney-based archaeological consultancy Godden Mackay.
"Our objective this year is to investigate further within the area close to the Late Stone Age site, in order to help us evaluate any new information on the patterns of ancient human settlement on the island," Iacono said.
For the first time this year, ADIAS is receiving support for its work from leading international bank ANZ Grindlays, through its regional office in Dubai.
Active in the UAE for over thirty years, the ANZ Grindlays group is based in Australia, and its General Manager UAE, Gary Tunstall, says that the bank "is delighted to have the opportunity of being associated with the important work being undertaken by ADIAS and its Australian archaeological team. ANZ Grindlays has been present in the United Arab Emirates for over thirty years, and we are committed to continuing and strengthening our presence in this country.
"Through our support for the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, we can display our commitment to the country as a whole, to the study of its past, as well as to its future growth and prosperity. We are particularly pleased that this work on Merawah is one of several excavations in the Emirates in which Australian archaeological expertise is being used, and look forward to a long association with this work," Tunstall said.
The work is taking place under the supervision of ADIAS Director Dr. Geoffrey King, who is also Pro-Director for Postgraduate Studies of the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University in Britain. (The Emirates News reporting from Merawah Island)
Back to main index