Monday, 14 November 2011

A to Z of African official IP websites no.22: Ghana

Afro-IP's A-to-Z series of visits to the official IP websites of African states reaches episode 22 with the arrival of Afro Leo's special agent Kingsley Egbuonu in Ghana.  It seems that Kingsley has quite a bit to say about that jurisdiction, as he reports:


Overview
Ghana is a Contracting Party to several 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 ARIPO.
 Copyright Office

  • The Copyright Office (Ministry of Culture) is the office responsible for copyright and related rights in Ghana.
  • This office website can be found at www.copyright.gov.gh.
 Industrial Property Offices

  • The Registrar General's Department (Ministry of Justice) is the competent office responsible for the administration of intellectual property rights in Ghana.
  • Currently, this department has no web presence.
Co-operation with foreign IP Offices/WIPO
On 19 November 2008, Switzerland and Ghana launched a project on intellectual property rights technical assistance in Ghana. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) is responsible for implementing the project on behalf of the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO), who is financing the project. The project has a duration of three years beginning 1 January 2009” (here)
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Betty Mould Iddrisu on the 12th of July 2010 launched Ghana’s Intellectual Property Development Plan at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.
 Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu also secured an agreement between the World Intellectual Property Organisation and Ghana by which Ghana will benefit from financial and technical assistance to develop its intellectual property industry”(here
Social media presence
The copyright office’s website has links to various social media but they don’t appear to be connected.
Latest intellectual property update/law
The Copyright Regulations (2010) came into force on February 15, 2010 to implement the Copyright Act, 2005, No. 690 (GH012). The regulations cover various aspects of copyright including: registration, use of security device on copyright works and collecting societies.
Miscellaneous findings
During my exploration, I came across this book, “The Copyright Thing Doesn't Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana (University of Minnesota Press, March 16, 2011) by Boatema Boateng. Although you don’t judge a book by its cover or introduction, a preview using Amazon’s Click to LOOK INSIDE tells me that it is an interesting book on a highly debated topic - the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions under the intellectual property regime. Students/researchers keen on intellectual property issues in Africa may find it insightful.
 Conclusion
Ghana appears to be utilising its partnership with organisations such as: WIPO and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) to make intellectual property a tool in its economic development.
 The Ghanaian copyright office’s website looks good, simple and instructive. A similar website for the industrial property office will perfect their efforts.
Kingsley tweets as @IPinAfrica

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