The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) on Monday 19th May 2014 commenced a three day roundtable conference on Intellectual Property Rights for Business Competiveness and Development in Africa on the theme: “Making Better use of Intellectual Property for Business Competiveness and Development in Africa.” The seminar was held at Shangra La Resort in Freetown. The event attracted several personalities including government ministers, members of the business community, artistes, other senior government officials as well as experts and inventors.
The aim of the seminar is to promote the use of Intellectual Property through awareness raising and the promotion of innovation among the people.
|Participants at the Seminar
In his opening statement, the Special Adviser to President, Professor Monty Jones who doubles as Ambassador at Large said Intellectual Property for business competiveness and development could contribute to attaining the goals for the Agenda for Prosperity. According to him, the implementation of the Intellectual Property will lead to economic growth and has the potential to improve the livelihoods of over 70% of the population, largely in the agricultural business production.
“Intellectual Property Rights are the legally recognized exclusive rights to your creation and under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain rights to a variety of assets, such as music, literary , artistic works, discoveries, inventions, designs, symbols and phrases,” Professor Jones emphasized adding that copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial designs, trade secrets were essential to the Intellectual Property.
Professor Jones also appealed to all participants to be very instrumental in the dissemination of Intellectual Property rights to every community and rural setting. In his statement, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Frank Kargbo said his government was well determined in enforcing Intellectual Property Rights. According to him, in the last few years much ratification had been made adopted in this direction. The minister said Intellectual Property is a tool for economic growth, adding that his government has adopted the policy.
He informed that, despite the move, Sierra Leone still have challenges including institutional and human resource capacity.
The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Fernado dos Santos said the event was the fourth Serial Roving Seminar held by ARIPO in the last two years. According to him, the organization has 18 member states and 9 potential members. He hailed Government of Sierra Leone for approving certain laws that are in line with ARIPO.
He disclosed that Sierra Leone became a member of ARIPO in 1980s but local users have not taken advantage of the system. He went on to say the initiative wont achieve its desired results without active involvement of the government.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.