The Deputy Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayine, has said that government would improve and adapt Intellectual Property (IP) laws and protection systems to reduce the knowledge gap of users and policy makers for greater participation.
He noted that, Ghana required a good knowledge of IP and its deliverables as a means to ensure that it drew maximum benefit from its own innovation and creative capacity.
“It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that we have the legal and administrative framework in place to ensure that our people derive maximum benefit from the intellectual property system”.
Dr Ayine said this when he opened a three-day national roving seminar on Protection and Promotion of Patents, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications.
Organised by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) in collaboration with Ghana’s Registrar Generals’ Department, the seminar is on the theme: “Making better use of Intellectual Property for Business Competitiveness and Development in Africa”.
Intellectual Property is an important resource for researchers and inventors, entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises as well as IP professionals.
It avoids duplicating research and development efforts, determine the protection of their IP rights, avoid infringing other’s IP rights, gain intelligence on the innovative activities and future direction of business, improve planning for business decisions and identify key trends in specific technical fields of public interest.
The Deputy Minister explained that Ghana and the other ARIPO member countries needed to reposition themselves to fully support each other in establishing effective IP infrastructure to provide quality services for business development and wealth creation.
He acknowledged the fact that IP was very key and essential in the daily running of every economy, social, agricultural and cultural development, and commended ARIPO for putting measures in place to increase investments in agriculture, especially, the seed sector, through the adoption of the Arusha Protocol for Plant Variety Protection by member states in July this year.
“If agriculture is to meet the challenges of food security in the context of population growth and climate change, then, African countries, including Ghana, must find ways to produce more food in a sustainable way and adapt agriculture to climate change and develop climate resilient crops”.
He urged the elimination of all forms of barriers serving as stumbling blocks for innovative thinking and pursuits, adding that, “Only then will we be able to develop intellectual capital and achieve the competitive edge needed to compete in the millennium”.
Professor Johnny Gyapong, Pro Vice Chancellor in Charge of Research at the University of Ghana, Legon, expressed concern about the low level of knowledge and information on IP issues, though the adaptation, transfer and acquisition of appropriate technology help in the development of local research and creation of indigenous technology.
He encouraged the Attorney General’s Department to resource the Registrar Generals’ Department, which happened to be in-charge of Ghana’s IP issues, to enable it to discharge their duties effectively.
The Director-General of ARIPO, Dr Fernando Dos Santos said ARIPO had recognized the lack of awareness on the important role IP played in harnessing and rewarding human creations for social, cultural, economic and technological development, hence, the design of roving seminars to promote and use IP in member states.
The member states are made of Ghana, Bostwana, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nambia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Tanzania and Sao Tome and Principe.
He commended Ghana for putting in place a modern and well functioning intellectual property system and ratifying its main legal instruments for the regional and international administration of intellectual property rights.
Ghana has become one of the most designated ARIPO member states for the protection of patents, industrial designs and utility models from all over the world.
Dr Dos Santos reminded Ghana to consider ratifying the Banjul Protocol for the protection of marks, which when ratified, will protect the trademarks and brands of Ghanaian inventors and entrepreneurs.
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