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LIPO wants strong intellectual property strategy

The Liberia Industrial Property Office (LIPO) has begun 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 a time when investors and artists in the creative sector, or industry are taking steps to ensure that government pays more attention to the creative industry.

Speaking to group of journalists on Tuesday, 5 December in Monrovia, LIPO Director General Roosevelt Gould described the document that is being developed as “a crosscutting document” which outlines links with diverse policy areas to ensure effective coordination with other activities.

Since the country enacted the Intellectual Property Law, no government, past or present, has fully given recognition to the creative sector as an engine of growth due to what they describe as ‘lack of a roadmap for the sector.’

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Accordingly, LIPO says its 12-day field trip is expected to change things as part of its trajectory on the development of a national strategic intellectual property (IP) plan that will encourage and facilitate useful creations, critical developments and the management and protection of IP at the national level, as well as giving more subsidies to creative industry in the society.

Mr. Gould, took over the agency less than five months ago and has initiated this crucial activity that will soon see artists benefiting more from their career path.
According to him, the National IP strategy will strengthens the 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,” he says.

The LIPO Boss indicates that 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,” he adds.

According to him, artists and inventors are people who are supposed to be millionaires by now, saying this is not happening because “we” lack a national IP strategy.
He says Liberia has 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.

Meanwhile, Gould notes that since 2009, LIPO has been undergoing numerous reforms and working hard to make sure that its performance equals and surpasses its mandate.

Director Gould says 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–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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