The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, has expressed concern over the failure of tertiary institutions to patent their intellectual property.
“I am informed that registration of Industrial Property Rights by local participants has been quite discouraging, considering the benefits that holders of such rights tend to gain.
“It is also quite worrying that despite the creativity and innovative activities emanating from our tertiary and research institutions, none of the institutions has taken advantage of the system to secure a patent for an invention through the Ghana Industrial Property Office,” Ms Akuffo noted in a speech read on her behalf by one of her deputies, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, at the World Intellectual Property Day celebration in Accra yesterday.
This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Innovation – Improving Lives.”
Ms Akuffo has accordingly thrown a challenge to tertiary institutions to create visibility for their innovative activities through protection and exploitation.
“Research works gathering dust on shelves should be a thing of the past. Let your innovation improve lives,” Ms Akuffo charged.
The Attorney-General disclosed that the government was in the process of facilitating the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Technology Innovation Support Centres (TISC) in the country’s tertiary and research institutions.
“TISC would assist such institutions to access current information and patent databases to improve the quality of research for future protection and exploitation.
“I am informed that a study has been carried out in 29 institutions to assess their readiness for the deployment of the TISC in the various universities and research institutions,” Ms Akuffo added.
The Attorney-General said the collaboration among industry, government and research/academia had been quite weak, and called for better collaboration.
She stressed that the ministry was in existence to assist and protect the intellectual property rights of all stakeholders.
Ms Akuffo announced that a Ghana Industrial Property Office (GIPO) would be established to take charge of industrial property issues.
Ms Akuffo said the GIPO would be independent and focus on its core mandate and that would lead to efficiency and provide a business-friendly office for stakeholders.
The acting Registrar-General, Mrs Jemima Oware, said majority of applications received at the Registrar-General’s Department were from foreigners.
She said in 2016, the department received 2,372 applications for trademarks, out of which 900 were applications from locals.
However, she indicated that the local applicants were mainly businesses registered by foreigners “with very negligible actual or indigenous applications”.
“It tells that there is something about the Intellectual Property system that is appealing to the developed world that we may be blind to or might have overlooked,” Ms Oware said.
She said her department was ready to partner individuals and institutions to achieve their goals of moving away from having their research works and inventions covered in dust on shelves “to innovative products of value on the market”.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, announced that it was the commitment of government to establish technology incubators, machine foundries, technology transfer centres and technology parks to give the Ghanaian innovator or inventor a one-stop shop for developing his or her ideas and gain access to hi-technology and equipment and technical support to build prototypes and link up with industry to commercialise his or her technologies.
He said the ministry was committed to working with all stakeholders to build Ghana’s national system of innovation.