Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind. They include inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial Property which includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications and Copyrights which covers all types of artistic and literary works.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN GHANA?
There generally five (5) types of intellectual property (IP) rights recognized in Ghana:
- Industrial Design rights; and
- Unfair Competition.
WHAT LAWS GOVERN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN GHANA?
The main intellectual property laws in Ghana include the Copyright Act, 2005 , the Patents Act, 2003, the Trademarks Act, 2004, the Industrial Designs Act, 2003 and the Protection Against Unfair Competition Act, 2000
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE IN GHANA
Generally, most intellectual properties are registered by the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) in Ghana. The intellectual properties registered by the RGD include the Trademark and Patent. Copyrights are registered through the Copyrights Office in Ghana .
PATENT REGISTRATION IN GHANA
A Patent is a unique form of intellectual property in Ghana that can be registered. A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years. In turn, the owner of the patent is required to publish a public disclosure of the invention. Application for Patent Registration in Ghana is filed with the RGD through the Ghana Patent Registry . Below are the steps for registering a Patent in Ghana:
- Submit Patent Application
The Patent application must contain the following information:
- A description of the invention;
- An abstract or drawings (where applicable). The applicant is required to be filed along with evidence of payment of the prescribed fees.
The application is acknowledged with a filing date and application number. A Power of attorney is required where applicant is a foreigner or foreign entity based outside the jurisdiction.
- Formal Examination of Application
Formality examination is conducted by the Patent Registry to ensure that all the formal requirements in respect of fees and information required are provided. Thereafter, a Search and substantive examination is conducted for the invention claimed in the application/ request. The application is refused where it does not meet the patentability requirement as provided by the Patent Act and it is granted where it meets the patentability requirement in accordance with the Patent Act.
When the application approved, it is published in the Industrial and Commercial Bulletin and a certificate is issued for the patent. In order to maintain the patent or patent application, an annual fee shall be paid in advance to the Registrar for each year, starting one year after the filling date of the application.
TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN GHANA
Trademark is another type of Intellectual property in Ghana that can be registered. A Trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of other people. The owner of a trademark can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. In Ghana, a person who intends to register his trade mark is required to apply to the Registrar General’s Department. Below are the registration steps necessary to obtain the Trademarks Registration:
- Preliminary Search (Optional)
The first step is to conduct a search prior to the registration. This search is necessary to ensure that there are no existing trademarks identical to the mark the applicant intends to register. The cost of Trademark search in Ghana is $110.00 or its Cedi equivalent.
- Application for Trade Mark Registration
Trade Mark Form No. 2 is used for the application of Trade Marks in Ghana. An Applicant is required to attach four (4) representations of the trade mark with a prescribed fee of $200.00 or its Cedi equivalent. Applicants whose principal place of business is located outside Ghana are required to apply through a legal entity.
- Review and Publication
The Registrar examines whether the Trade Mark application is in conformity with the requirements of the law and if it is accepted for registration, it will be published in the Industrial Trade Marks Bulletin (Journal) for a period of two (2) months. Within this period any interested party/person may file for a notice of opposition to the registration in a prescribed manner.
- Certification of Trademark
In the event where there are no Opposition to the approved Trademarks, the applicant shall be eligible to receive a Certificate of Registration of Trade Mark. The fees for the certificate is $200.00 or its Cedi equivalent. The trademark certificate is valid for a period of 10 years from the filing date of the application and non-use of the registered trademark for a period of five (5) years following registration makes the registration vulnerable to cancellation.
COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION IN GHANA
A Copyright is the exclusive right granted to authors of literary works, artistic works, musical works, sound recordings, audio-visual works, choreographic works, derivative works, and computer software programs. It also affords protection for the related rights of performers and broadcasting organizations. Below are the general steps for applying for copyright registration in Ghana.
- Prepare and Submit the Application
An application for registration of a copyrighted work is filed with the Copyright Office and must be filed in the necessary form specified by the law. Authors who intend to register their copyrights are required to state on their application:
- the name and citizenship of the author and/or main performers;
- the title of the work;
- the year the original work was produced; and
- the date and place of first publication (if applicable).
If the work to be registered has been published, the applicant must deposit two (2) copies of the work with the application; if the work has not been published, the applicant only deposits one (1) copy. Applicants registering sound and audio-visual works must deposit two (2) copies of the phonograms and any printed or perceptible material published with the work, irrespective of its publication status. For collective works appearing in newspapers or periodicals (within a 12-month period), one copy of the entire newspaper or periodical, or the applicable section thereof, must be filed with the application. In certain situations, a photograph or illustration may be submitted in lieu of a true copy.
The application is required to be accompanied with evidence of payment of the current application fee.
- REGISTRATION OF COPYRIGHT AND ISSUE OF CERTIFICATE
On receipt of the application for registration of copyright, the Copyright Office reviews the applicant and within two (2) weeks after their receipt, determines whether the work is a subject matter for registration or not. The Copyright Office informs the applicant of their decision in writing.
Where the Copyright Office determines that a deposited work is a subject matter for registration, the Copyright issues a Certificate of Registration of Copyright to the applicant within two (2) weeks after informing the applicant that the work is a subject matter for registration.