Authorities at the Liberia Intellectual Property or (LIPO) have disclosed here that Liberia is set to take over the chairmanshipof the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization or ARIPO, including its Administrative and Ministerial Council for the next two years.Briefing reporters Thursday, November 14, 2019, at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, the Director General of LIPO Attorney Adelyn P. Cooper said beginning November 18-22, Liberia will host the 43rd Administrative and 17th Ministerial Council session of ARIPO in Monrovia with participants expected from 40 African countries, including governmental ministers, policymakers, andjudges, among others.
She said the meeting comes at a time when Liberia, through policies and strategies is making enormous efforts to promoting its positive image and value addition for economic rights, as a measure against infringement and other Intellectual Property related offenses or crimes, least to say the nation’s current economic challenges.
“This meeting is a premise on using Intellectual Property as a tool for development, while countering IP infringement in an effective way as well as the importance of ensuring national leadership of all members states”, she adds.Atty. Cooper explains currently, there are 19 participating member states of ARIPO, including Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
She says Liberia stands to benefit increase attraction to the tourism sector, and designation for protection of foreign IP rights in its jurisdiction.
Commenting on the achievement of LIPO since her ascendency as Director General, she notes that the organization is satisfied with protection mechanism being put in place, but they are challenges in the commercial exploitation and enforcement mechanism, despite progress made.
“For LIPO to be transformed, there is a need for collective effort; we need all hands on deck; criticism is also expected, but our journey to achieving our objective is collective.”
The LIPO director calls for creation of a market for pirated or infringed products, which she says, will give confidence for investment in the IP sector and enable banks to accept IP right protection as collateral for soft loan, saying,“imaging an artist getting loan on upcoming project, without the need to own a house to use as collateral.”
She says increase awareness about IP among creators and entrepreneurs over the last 12 months has brought about rise increase in IP applications.“Currently, we have handled the registration of over 100 IP applications” she adds and notes, this is an increase of 40 percent.According to her, the upcoming conference is another form of awareness mechanism for LIPO and Liberia as a respecter of the policies, and rules of trade, as enshrined in the framework of the World Trade Organization, WTO.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization is an inter-governmental institution that facilities cooperation among member states on intellectual property matters, with the objective of pooling financial and human resources, and seeking technological advancement for economic, social,technological, science and industrial development.ARIPO’s goal is to shape the landscape of Intellectual Property in Africa by encouraging and advising member states on relevant policies and educating the masses on benefits of IP rights.By Lewis S. Teh