Intellectual Property in Sierra Leone

The Office registers and administers Intellectual Property in Sierra Leone.  Registration of Trade Marks and Patents are governed by the Trademarks Act, Cap 244 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960, the Patent Act, Cap 247 of the Laws of Sierra Leone, and the UK Designs (Protection) Act, Cap. 246 of the Laws of Sierra Leone. These are archaic and outdated laws inherited from Britain, our colonial master that no longer provides adequate protection of Intellectual Property System. We have a dependent system whereby Patents granted in the United Kingdom automatically applies to Sierra Leone upon application for registration. Also, a citizen who wants to protect her invention would have to apply first to the UK in order to get protection in her own country.

Appreciating the importance of the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights especially as an instrument of growth, a consultancy project for the reformation of said laws was embarked upon. Several consultations and discussions were held at the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the Office of the Administrator and Registrar General, and other stakeholders which resulted in the production of a Trademarks and Patent draft Bills that are expected to be tabled before Parliament soon, for enactment into law.

The OARG realizes that just pushing paper in the office issuing certificates of grant will not in itself create a conducive environment for innovation and creativity. As such, an IP office should serve as a resource center for inventors and innovators. Promotion has to be done systematically at every level of society. Creating awareness on the importance of protecting IP rights can never be overemphasized. The educational system must support and promote innovation and creativity, there has to be outreach programs to small and medium enterprises creating awareness, increasing appreciation for IP and stimulating innovative and creative activities.

A lot of revenue should be generated each year from the registration of intellectual property if the Office is well managed. Modernisation program will include a national Intellectual Policy that will make for a well co-coordinated, streamlined and focus IP system.

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