The Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) begins a 12-day stakeholders’ engagement field trip that is intended to develop a national intellectual property strategic plan to be integrated into the government’s national development agenda.
The field trip comes at the time when investors, inventors, and artists in the creative sector (film, music, innovation and etc) are taking steps to ensure that government pays more attention to this lucrative creative industry. Since the country enacted the Intellectual Property Law, no government – past or present, has fully given recognition to creative work as an engine of growth due to ‘lack of a roadmap for the sector.’
LIPO Director General says the 12-day field trip is to change things around and develop a national strategic intellectual property (IP) plan that will encourage and facilitate useful creations, critical developments plus management and protection of IP at the national level, as well as giving more subsidies to creative industry societies.
Director General Roosevelt Gould, who took over the agency few months ago, describes the document that is being developed as “a crosscutting document which outlines links with diverse policy areas to ensure effective coordination with other activities. He adds that a national IP strategy strengthens a country’s ability to generate economic growth, both in terms of GDP and human capital.
“With the coming of this strategy, everything ranging from literary to artistic works and genetic and biological assets will be protected and the individual behind it will fully reap his or her benefit. Without a national IP strategy, it is difficult to unlock these assets in a planned, efficient, and sustainable manner.
The goal of this national IP strategy is the creation, ownership, and management of artists and inventors’ rights to increase economic growth. The world is now being controlled by IP, and if other countries are benefiting from this, it is about time Liberia starts to benefit as well, Gould explains.
“We have artists and inventors who are supposed to be millionaires by now, but this is not happening because we lack a national IP strategy. We have a good IP law but in the absence of a national IP strategy – which is a key policy tool to promote public interest in the arts and innovation and for the environment to strive, then the law remains inactive”, he laments.
Meanwhile, Gould notes that since 2009, LIPO has been undergoing numerous reforms and working hard to make sure its performance equals and surpasses its mandate.
Director Gould adds that the 12-day workshop will be managed by two expert consultants sent by the World Intellectual Property Organization to work alongside the agency’s staff to develop the country’s strategic IP plan through stakeholder engagement.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne