The frontiers of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) have seen massive development and expansion in the last two decades.Â This development has presented challenges and opportunities for governments to develop Intellectual Property (IP) policies to give strategic focus to their national development plans.
The emergence of new technologies coupled with the process of economic globalization has also enabled intellectual property to cross international boundaries more easily.Â Knowledge based industries are fast becoming the drivers of economies as a result of which intellectual property rights have become a cornerstone of economic activity.
It is on this basis that Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry has developed the National Intellectual Property PolicyÂ Â and Strategy (NIPPS) to âstrengthen the management of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in order to encourage innovation, promote the transfer of technology and know-how, enhance productivity and facilitate trade and industrial competitivenessâ in Ghana.
Addressing a two-day stakeholders review workshop in Accra recently, Mr. Nii Ansah-Adjei, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the NIPPS will bring Ghanaâs IPRs systems in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Government recognizes intellectual property rights as a powerful catalyst in fostering the growth and development of national economies.Â And in pursuance of this recognition, the Government has put in place strong protective systems for the promotion of intellectual property rightsâ, said Mr. Ansah-Adjie.
According to him, five out of seven IP laws namely; trademark, industrial designs, patents, geographical indications and plant varieties; have been revised.
He said the passing of these laws by Parliament and the approval of the National IP Policy and Strategy by Cabinet will âchange the IP landscape in Ghanaâ.
The Chief Director was optimistic that the NIPPS will unearth many inventors in the country and âmake the dream of wealth creation, poverty alleviation and prosperity of the country a realityâ.
The intellectual property system is a basic system for developing and utilizing knowledge-based resources and Ghana has set herself to improve its systems of laws and regulations in this regard in order to strengthen the enforcement of IP.Â
The NIPPS identifies strategic objectives which includes strengthening the legal framework for protection of intellectual property rights, strengthening the institutional framework for the administration and management of IP rights, to promote and facilitate commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights and technology transfer and to promote creativity and innovation to enhance IP generating activities in Ghana.
The Strategy also seek to strengthen legal and institutional framework for enforcement of IP rights, develop adequate human resource capacity in the administration, protection, commercialization and enforcement of IP rights and to develop and promote Intellectual Property Services Industry in Ghana.
Representative of the Switzerland Embassy in Ghana, Mrs Agatha Quayson, called on the Government to give priority to the approval of the NIPPS to enable the country to âmaximise the benefits from an active IP regimeâ.
Professor Tom Peter Migun Ogada, World Intellectual Property Policy Expert, congratulated Ghana for its decision to develop IP policy adding that âthis is a process many countries in Africa are struggling to undertakeâ.
The National IP policy and Strategy is being developed under the Swiss-Ghana IP project with support from the Swiss government.
Ahmad Yartey, MOTI