Monday, 7 November 2011

A to Z of African official IP websites no.21: The Gambia

Afro-IP's A-to-Z series of visits to the official IP websites of African states reaches episode 21 with the arrival of Afro Leo's special agent Kingsley Egbuonu at The Gambia. We took an editorial decision to include this jurisdiction under "G" rather than "T" though, if we left it till 'T', Kingsley's conclusions might well have been more positive.

Overview
The Gambia is a Contracting Party to a number of treaties on intellectual property including: the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. It is also a Member of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO).
Copyright Office
• The National Centre for Arts and Culture (Ministry of Culture) is the competent office responsible for copyright and related rights in the Gambia. 
• Currently, this office has no web presence.
Industrial Property Office
• The Office of the Registrar General, Attorney General’s Chambers (Ministry for Justice) is the competent office responsible for the administration of intellectual property rights in the Gambia. 
• Currently, this office has no web presence.
Social Media Presence
None.
Intellectual Property Update in Gambia
The Gambian Industrial Property Regulations, 2010 ("the Regulations") came into effect on 1 January 2011. The Regulations incorporate prescribed forms and fees and supplement the Industrial Property Act (Chapter 95:03) ("the Act"). Section 46 of the Act has the effect that the Gambian Registrar will no longer be re-registering any UK or EP (UK) Patents, Trade Marks and Designs, therefore, applications should be made in The Gambia (for details see here)
Conclusion
The Gambia seems to be taking charge of its intellectual property regime and recent legislation demonstrates at least a keen interest in intellectual property. Having said that, a web presence is highly desirable, if not essential, to enable the Registrar communicate any developments in law and/or procedure -- for the benefit of local IP practitioners and foreign IP rights holders -- and also connect with the wider IP community.
Kingsley Egbuonu tweets as @IPinAfrica. If you like his series, tell him what you think!

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