By Bill W. Cooper
The government of Liberia through the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) commenced a two-day Council of Ministers Seventeenth Session in the country.
The ceremony which took place at the Farmington Hotel in Charlesville, Margibi County yesterday brought together delegates from all ARIPO member States including the outgoing chairman of the Council of Ministers, Bright Msaka from Malawi, the incoming chairman of the Council of Ministers, Commerce and Industry Minister, Wilson k. Tarpeh and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbezongar Milton Findley among others.
Speaking as guest of honor at the opening of the conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOF) Minister, Gbezongar Milton Findley stated that it is hard to think of a global issue today that does not have a significant property dimension, ranging from artistry, movies, music, healthcare, innovation, and access to medicines, climate change and the development of green technologies.
The MOF Minister emphasized that Africa needs good IP regime to maximize its youthful potential, stating that Africa is the leading continent in creativity, and as such, they as political actors need to formulate policies that will provide the legal space for IP instruments to get commercial recognition.
“Every Government must develop policies and adopt laws that are IP friendly. In the case of Liberia, we have taken substantial steps in this direction, which we have established a full institution- the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), a unit that was once within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry,” Minister Findley added.
The MOF boss then lauded the ARIPO for choosing Liberia to host the seventeenth session of the Ministers of Council, adding, “LIBERIA is pleased to host this important gathering, and as one of the oldest African countries who have championed the formation of and support to many regional and international institutions; we stand ready to support this organization.”
Earlier, the outgoing chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Seventeenth Session Council of Ministers of ARIPO, who is said to be from Malawi, Bright Msaka notes that ARIPO embedded the hope and aspiration of Africa to participate and compete effectively in the modern knowledge economy.
He further stated that they as member of ARIPI want to promote innovation and creativity so that Africa can be developed sustainably in the modern economy by initiating its own idea, product and innovation that will enable the continents, which he said endowed with a lot of natural resources and talented people to enable the continents develop at the best with progress that will see most of the citizenry of Africa graduate from poverty to prosperity.
“We believe that ARIPO is the key to ensuring that Africa develops and that the support of the many governments that form ARIPO to purposes and objective of ARIPO is heart-warming in the sense that ARIPO is the key to the future,” the former chairman alluded.
For his part, the newly elected chairman of the Council of Ministers, Wilson K. Tarpeh lauded his colleagues for entrusting him to steer the affairs of the organization for the next two years, alluding that Intellectual Property (IP) is an elusive concept but something that is critical to every aspect of human life, especially, creativity and innovation.
The Commerce boss then promised to build on the gains made by his predecessor, stressing, “They have set a standard, and we intend to follow those standard so that Africa as a unit and not as individual members who will conduct themselves properly in this very interesting field.”
Meanwhile, Liberia has been selected to steer the affairs of the both Administrative and Ministerial Council of Ministers of African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) for the next two years respectively.
Those elected include; Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) Director General, Atty. Adelyn Cooper as the new Chairperson of the ARIPO Administrative Council replacing Mr. Chikumbutso Namelo and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Minister, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh as the new Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Ministerial Council of ARIPO replacing Hon. Bright Msaka from Malawi.
As a partnership of governments, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization ARIPO finds solid ground to continually lay the foundations for higher levels of Intellectual Property (IP) rights protection in Africa for global business.
For over 40 years, the ARIPO has led efforts in Africa to expand intellectual property protection. The principal organs of ARIPO are four ranging from the Council of Ministers, the Administrative Council, the Board of Appeal and the Secretariat.
ARIPO Begins 17th Council Of Ministers Session —Liberia Takes Both Seats
By Bill W. Cooper