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18.12.2003 General News

House passes three bills

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Accra, Dec. 18, GNA- Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed the Public Procurement, the Trade Marks and the Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Bills, after the Minister for Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, in three separate motions, moved for the third reading of the three bills.

The Topographies bill was originally laid before the house on May 6, 2003, and subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.

In its report, the committee noted that the bill is the first appropriate legislation to protect layout designs and integrated circuits, which is a new area in intellectual property.

The passage of the bill is also in keeping with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, as a result of which, Ghana a signatory, is mandated to provide protection to layout designs topographies of integrated circuits.

In serving as a protection of layout designs for integrated circuits, which is used in products such as watches, television sets, washing machines, automobiles and sophisticated data processing among others, the bill will ensure fair reward for creators of such designs and an incentive for creation.

This, the report says, could lead to substantial boost in the financial and technological resources of the country, and make innovations to solve technological problems as well as manufacturing products for the benefit of all.

The passage of the Trade Marks Bill was to re-enact the Trade Marks Act, 1965 (Act 270) to modernise the legislation on Trade Marks and comply with the international obligations of the country under the TRIPS Agreement

The Bill also re-enacts the Merchandise Marks Act, 1964 (Act 253), which deals with fraudulent marks. It will as well provide for the protection of Trade Marks.

The Public Procurement Bill will serve basis for a comprehensive procurement legal regime and policy for the country. It would on that score safeguard the integrity of the public procurement system and establish a central public procurement body with the requisite capability, technical expertise and competence to develop a coherent public procurement policy.

The Bills sets out a new structure that will promote the use of public procurement as a tool for national development, and it will harmonise the application of procurement related rules with international conventions and treaties.

It is also expected to foster competition, efficiency, transparency, accountability and sanity in the public procurement process and ensure equal access for citizens to participate in the public procurement process.

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