Ghana and Switzerland have signed a $790,000 technical assistance pact to develop an effective Intellectual Property (IP) legislation and management regime in the country.
The three-year project has seven components which aim at strengthening the IP functions of the Registrar General Department and the Copyright Office.
It also aims at designing and implementing a balanced system of IP rights that will help to improve the business environment, encourage innovation, and improve productivity.
One aspect of the project is that, Ghana would be exposed to best practices on how counterfeiting and piracy have successfully been combated in other countries with regard to legislative provisions and institutional measures.
Under the project, new operational manuals and effective procedure would be developed in the field of patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical locations among others.
The project would also focus on updating legislation, and providing the required implementing regulations to enable the IP laws to be fully operational. The project would also support the replacement of the current paper-based system of the Registrar General's Department with an electronic database.
The aim is to ensure operation of efficient system of storage and retrieval of data to streamline the industrial property operations of the Department.
The three-year project further aims at increasing public awareness on IP and setting up a Patent Information Unit.
Minister of Trade, Industry and PSI, Papa Owusu Ankomah, and Nicolas Lang, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries.
Papa Owusu Ankomah said the project, which is being implemented as part of Ghana's Trade Policy Reforms under the Trade Sector Support Programme, underscored government's recognition of the important contribution innovative ideas, designs and creativity could make to socio-economic development.
The Minister said government was convinced that with the protection of IP rights, the development of new technologies would be stimulated to increase agricultural and industrial production, promote domestic and foreign investment and facilitate technology transfer.
Mr Lang said Switzerland was committed to supporting Ghana in her efforts to facilitate international integration, trade and investment by promoting the protection and use of IP rights.
He said the agreement formed part of the Swiss government's economic development assistance to Ghana in the field of macro-economic support, infrastructure financing as well as trade and private sector promotion.
Solely financed by the Swiss government, the project will be executed by the Swiss Intellectual Property Institute.
By Felix Dela Klutse