In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. For background, link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov for more resources. For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (OSIP) Director, Stevan Mitchell at Stevan.Mitchell@trade.gov.
Intellectual property rights (IPR) are legally protected in the DRC, but enforcement of IPR regulations is limited. The DRC’s intellectual property laws date from the 1980s and remain in force. However, enforcement is weak, and IPR theft is common. The country is a signatory to a number of relevant agreements with international organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is subject to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Despite being officially party to several international agreements that set minimum standards for IP, enforcement is lax due to low capacity and a lack of awareness among consumers and businesses. The government does not keep a record of IPR violations. To access DRC’s ICS report, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.