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Intellectual Property Rights

Background

Liberia has recently reformed it's Intellectual Property Regime in line with international best practice. In June 2016, Liberia adopted the Liberian Intellectual Property Rights Act (available here) which lays down a modern regulatory framework with a high quality of protection. In addition to creating the Liberian Intellectual Property Office (Section 4), the law also regulates the protection of Copyrights (Section 9), Trade marks (Section 10), Geographical indications (Section 11), Industrial Designs (Section 12), Patents (Section 13) and Layout designs of Integrated Curcuits (Section 14). Finally the act also create a robust system for enforcement of intellectual property rights (Section 15-19).

The Liberian Intellectual Propery Office

The Liberian Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) is a a corporate semi-autonomous agency under the oversight of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). The Agency is composed of a central administration and two departements, the department of copyright and the department of industrial property. The Agency has the power to formulate policies on intellectual property rights and intellectual property regulations. It also has the power to grant applications for patents, copyrights, trade marks and other intellectual properties.

National Treatment and MFN Treatment

As a rule, Liberia applies the principle of National Treatment when it comes to Intellectual Property Rights. This means that the LIPO shall accord to the nationals of other Member States, treatment no less favorable than that it accords to its own nationals with regard to the protection of intellectual property rights (subject to the exceptions provided for in various international treaties). Similarly Liberia applies the principle of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment which means that any advantage, favor, privilege or immunity granted by LIPO to the nationals of any other country shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the nationals of all other Member States.

Laws, Regulations and Guidelines

The Liberian Intellectual Property Act is available here.

 

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