By Awa B. Bah
The Industrial Property Office under the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), on Monday 10th July 2017, opened a three day seminar on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for stakeholders, in the development of Intellectual Property in The Gambia, at a local hotel in Kololi.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the solicitor General, Chenor Marena said the Ministry of Justice attaches great importance to the advancement and development of intellectual property right in the Gambia. He said the PCT system provides opportunities for young and emerging innovators to freely access worldwide databases containing millions of Patent information, adding that Gambia in particular and Africa in general, have not been using this available information as compared to other parts of the world; that after the end of this important seminar, participants will be able to use the knowledge and insights gained, as to the opportunities the PCT system offers, because it is a premier system for filling patents worldwide.
The PCT system, he revealed, facilitates the filling, searching, examination and publication of patent applications, for everybody around the world and the Gambia is an integral member of the PCT system. He added PCT serves as a system we can benefit from especially the young innovators.
A team of young innovators from the Gambia he said have been able to come up with a robotic system which is going to participate in an international competition in America. A major fundamental problem of the IP system in Africa he noted is the generation of IP rights. Marena expressed appreciation to WIPO and ARIPO for the continued support to the Gambia’s quest to develop the IP system as such collaboration and partnership will grow in the quest to build a robotic intellectual system in the Gambia.
Representing the Inspector General of police was Momodou E. Bah. Mr. Bah said their primary responsibility, under Section 4 of the Police Act, is to preserve Law and Order and the preservation of intellectual property, Merchandise, Copyright and Lives Act.
He said the police are working with the Ministry of Justice because they are experts in their domain, adding that the GPF places great concern in intellectual property rights. Mr. Bah further asserted that plans are under way to launch a unit for only intellectual property crimes.
Nyallen Pii, a senior program officer, PCT ICD Switzerland, said the World Intellectual Property Organization through its technical assistance Programme, WIPO, seeks to make intellectual property rights relevant and beneficial to all member states; that through cooperation with member states, they will work for the common good; that the seminar will focus on how individuals and institutions in developing countries can best utilize the internet filling system and the patent cooperation treaties, as well as understand case studies based on success stories in different member states of WIPO.
She further revealed that the seminar will also look at how WIPO and ARICO are assisting universities and research institutions in the areas of knowledge transfer, intellectual property policies, access to patent information and commercialization.
She finally thanked the Government of the Gambia for the hospitality, and their willingness to host activities aimed at the improvement of IP systems in the Gambia.