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“Liberia IPDP will be heart of Africa”

The Director General at the Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) Mr. Roosevelt Gould has promised to make Liberia’s Intellectual Property Development Plan the heart of Africa.

“My vision is to make the IPDP here in Liberia the heart of the African, where we will be compared to our neighbors in this region in the creative industry,” Mr. Gould said recently at the YMCA Conference Hall up Crown Hill in Monrovia at the start of a two – day stakeholders review workshop of the intellectual property development plan in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

He says the creative industry here in Liberia and the work of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office have been sidelined by the government, with most of government’s attention allegedly focused on Poverty Reduction Strategy and other initiatives across the country.

The draft intellectual property strategic plan meant to be integrated into the country’s national development agenda has been validated by stakeholders in the creative industry.

The document is titled “Intellectual Property Development Plan,” The strategic use of IP for technological capacity building, economic growth and development.
The document validated recently through a workshop in Monrovia aims at encouraging and facilitating useful creations, critical developments and management and protection of IP at the national level, as well as providing support to creative industry societies, and challenges facing the creative industry.

The IPDP document is a crosscutting one which links with diverse policy areas to ensure effective coordination with other activities that strengthen the country’s ability to generate economic growth, both in terms of GDP and human capital from IP.

LIPO Director General Roosevelt Gould says this IPDP, when developed into government development agenda will attract foreign investment, promote research, and create an innovation and entrepreneurial culture.

Mr. Gould adds that as the country fights to become a middle income country in about two decades, it cannot be achieved without innovation, which is important tool of technological and economic development.

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“With this document, government will encourage inventive activity and also to promote the development, exploitation and the commercialization of local inventions, by providing the inventor with the relevant support,” Mr. Gould says.
According to him, one of the benefits of this document when integrated into national development agenda is the establishment of an innovation center to promote innovation and support innovators with the necessary funds.

With this center, he says innovators and creative individual will be able to receive special loans or subsidies and grants for development of certain inventions and innovations.

Director Gould further says with this plan, government will now be in the position to ratify lots of intellectual property treaties like the ARIPO Swakopmund protocol on the protection of traditional Knowledge, WIPO Copyright Treaty, and Beijing Treaty for Audio – visual performances and lots more- which are important treaties for the utilization of IP for economic growth and development of creative industry.

He notes that these treaties come with lots of benefits, but in the absence of these treaties not being ratified, it becomes difficult for the benefit to be realized.
“This [is] why this document comes in to change the way things have been. The world is now being controlled by IP, and so, this IPDA plan will bring about [the strengthening of the] IP infrastructure for economic growth and lot more,” he notes.

He reveals that his vision is to make Liberia the hub of innovation and the creative art, noting that the strategy document will be used as a roadmap for systematic input of the citizens in the achievement of its goal in order to make Liberia hotspot of creativity in Africa.

By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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