Innovation is central to economic growth – Dr Gurry
Dr Francis Gurry, Director-General of World intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) says innovation is central to economic growth and development.
According to him, it is the key for firms to compete successfully on the global marketplace and provided answers to numerous economic and social challenges.
Dr Gurry made the observation in a communiqué released at the end of the two-day 13th Session of the Council of Ministers of African Regional Intellectual Property (ARIPO) in Accra.
He said a balanced intellectual property (IP) system was vital therefore, WIPO and its 184 Member States supported investments in knowledge creation by developing a robust and sustainable IP system that would strike an appropriate balance between the needs of innovators, investors and society.
“Such a system” he stated, “fosters further innovation and its diffusion in a way that benefits society at large”.
“IP is an indispensable mechanism for translating knowledge into commercial assets. IP rights create a secure environment for investment in innovation and provide a legal framework for trading in intellectual assets. An investment in knowledge creation, and the maintenance of a robust and balanced IP system should feature prominently in any strategy to ensure sustainable economic growth,” Dr Gurry stressed.
However, Dr Gurry, added that the challenge for WIPO and its constituents was to ensure that IP system safeguard the interests of all IP stakeholders-including developing countries – and that it continued to serve the public good.
“The international IP system must be able to deliver tangible benefit to all countries, irrespective of where they fall on the spectrum of technological or economic development. The reality for a global organisation like WIPO, with its vast membership, is that it must be fully able to serve all of them”.
He said Ghana had been a member of WIPO since June 1976 and continued to make an important and positive contribution to the on-going process of exploring how to further improve different aspects of the international IP system and to influence the future evolution of the IP landscape.
Ghana, he said, was also party to 11 other treaties administered by WIPO, including those which facilitated the international filing and registration of patents, trademarks and designs, and the WIPO Internet treaties which established the basic standards of protection for copyright and related rights in the digital environment.
“The Government of Ghana has recognised the economic advantages of IP: in July 2010, Ghana’s Intellectual Property Development Plan, drafted in collaboration with WIPO, was launched by the Ministry of Justice. Part of the plan ensures that WIPO provides technical assistance to enable Ghana to develop its intellectual property infrastructure and in the commercialization of Ghanaian products (for example, cocoa and kente and adinkra designs)” he stated.
“WIPO is working closely with the Government in preparing a national IP strategy that would be cross-sectorial in nature and aimed at supporting Ghana’s overall development priorities, in particular with respect to agriculture, key exports (cocoa, coffee, textiles), and public health.”
Ghana is one of nine country members of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) which has signed the ARIPO Swakopmund Protocol on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore, a legal instrument that seeks to protect African traditional knowledge and folklore.
The Protocol is designed to preserve and protect the use of Africa’s diverse knowledge systems and cultures for the continent’s sustainable development as a response to the misappropriation and misuse of the continent’s traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.