Report: Free Market Road Show in Chisinau 2019

FMRS Chisinau: Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Interest

One of the main features of the Free Market Road Show is that it always offers much more than what is expected. In the case of the 5th edition in Chisinau this was taken to new heights. What is more, in cooperation with the ERB, the World Taxpayers Associations (WTA) and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) hosted trainings and seminars in what came to be an amazing program of four days in total.

Grigore Belostenic welcomed the audience and addressed current issues in Moldova. Parliamentary elections have taken place recently, the results are already known. He expects many changes in Moldova. The country wants to become a member of the European Union. Thus, the rule of law has to be reinforced; IP rights have to be respected.

Barbara Kolm kickstarted the event with some insightful remarks. Firstly, she mentioned that it is not necessarily that governments have to protect rights. It may very well be that blockchain technology can offer better solutions. She also acknowledged “patents generate disagreement among libertarians.” Nonetheless, she declared “I am totally in favor of the protection of property rights. It is not only in tune with our conception of rule of law. It is also pragmatically important. Our economies would just not work if we do not protect IP.”

Cynthia Ortíz Toledo, demolished the plain packaging (PP) regulation for cigarettes. She explained that trade brands are very important. Brands help consumers navigate and know what they are buying. A brand is the most valuable asset a company can have because brand loyalty increases revenue. In this sense, plain packaging becomes dangerous in that it is “effectively a ban on branding.” “First they tried to ban advertising,” explained Ms. Ortíz Toledo. “When this failed, they started thinking of packaging itself as advertising and they introduced PP.”

Jared Parks agreed that IP is considered fundamental, it is event part of the US constitution, originally taken from British law. Then he presented the new edition of the IP Index, the US Chamber issues every year.

Gloria Álvarez started her statement with a little workshop to illustrate the difference between government and freedom. Freedom says, “you can go further than what government allows you.” “The human brain is the only unlimited resource on this planet.” Humans need to be free to be innovative, and governments try to restrict reading, leaning, travelling, and thinking. It is a question of conformity vs daring.

John Chisholm explained that more startups bring more investors to the country, followed by even more startups. For Moldova he suggests special economic zones like in China. The government has to commit to entrepreneurs. Security is a precondition to entrepreneurs, and that is not yet given in Moldova.

Karl-Peter Schwarz analyzed the situation in Moldova: the government was mostly corrupt. So, most smart and intelligent people have left the country. They have lost the confidence that the situation in their home country might improve, which is quite depressing. So it is necessary for the Moldovan government to build trust in a better future to stop the brain drain. He asked the audience “Who is in favor of Moldova entering the EU?” Few hands were raised: the EU is not a hot topic.


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