The Director General of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), Fernando dos Santos, has said that Intellectual Property (IP) creators in Liberia are not taking full advantage of the membership of the country’s ARIPO system.
According to him, statistics show that only six Liberian trademarks are protected through the ARIPO system. The Director General made this known while speaking at a two-day seminar for academic and research institutions, held at the University of Liberia under the theme: “Fostering Creativity and Innovation for Economic Growth and Development in Africa.”
Liberia is a party to the ARIPO Harare Protocol for the protection of patents, utility models, and industrial designs. On March 24, 2010, it joined the Banjul Protocol for the protection of marks.
Despite the low number of trademarks filed by Liberian institututions in the ARIPO system, at least 2903 patents, 561 industrial designs and 20 utility models from all over the world are enjoying protection in Liberia through the regional system.
“We have no marks, patents or industrial designs filed by Liberian institutions and we believe we can reverse this situation. This is the objective of this seminar, which is intended to enhance IP awareness in academic and research institutions, with a view to promoting the creation, protection, and utilization of research results using IUP tools for the economic and technological development in member states,” he said.
Mr. dos Santos stated that although there is a lot of creativity and innovation going on in academic and research institutions in Liberia, due to the lack of awareness of the important role that Intellectual Property plays in rewarding and promoting creativity and innovation, many creators and inventors are not taking advantage of the regional system.