Ghana Intellectual Property

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

a. Patents

  • Nature of right:To be patentable, an invention must (i) be new, (ii) involve an inventive step,(iii) be industrially applicable, and (iv) not be excluded from patent protection by statute.
  • Protection: An application must be made to the Registrar of Patents. The rules on protection are set out by statute.
  • Enforcement: The patent owner can commence court proceedings against an infringer. The remedies available are injunctions, damages and any other remedy the court considers appropriate.
  • Length of protection: Protection lasts for 20 years, subject to the payment of annual fees.

b. Trade Marks

  • Nature of right: A sign or combination of signs capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from another.
  • Protection: An application must be made to the Registrar of Trade Marks. The rules on protection are set out by statute.
  • Enforcement: A trade mark owner can seek to enforce his rights by commencing court proceedings. Apart from the remedies of injunctions and damages, the offender is liable to a fine of GHS6,000 (about US$6,594) or a term of two years imprisonment. The goods are forfeited to the state.
  • Length of protection: The registration of a trade mark is for a period of 10 years from the filing date of the application.

c. Registered Designs

  • Nature of right: An industrial design is registrable if it (i) is new, (ii) significantly differs from known designs or is a combination of known design features, and (iii) is not contrary to public order or public morality.
  • Protection: An application must be made to the Registrar General. The rules on protection are set out by statute.
  • Enforcement: The registered owner can bring court proceedings against any person who infringes the industrial design or who performs an act that makes it likely that infringement will occur. The remedies available are injunctions, damages or any other remedy the court considers appropriate. The offender is liable to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 2000 penalty units, which is GHS24,000 (about US$26,376).
  • Length of protection: Protection lasts for 15 years, subject to renewal.

d. Copyright

  • Nature of right: Copyright subsists in the following works created by Ghanaians or persons resident in Ghana: literary; artistic; musical; sound recording; audio-visual; choreographic; derivative; computer software programs.
  • Protection: Protection commences automatically with the creation of the work.
  • Enforcement: The copyright owner can seek relief through the courts. The remedies available are the same as for patents (see above, Patents).
  • Length of protection: The moral right attached to copyright and copyright in folklore lasts indefinitely. Broadcasting corporations enjoy 40 years of copyright protection. All other forms of copyright enjoy 70 years protection.

e. Confidential Information

  • Nature of right: This right is based on common law principles. The information must be confidential in nature and communicated in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence.
  • Protection: Protection arises automatically or can be by agreement between the parties.
  • Enforcement: An aggrieved party can institute a civil action. The remedies available are the same as for patents (see above, Patents).
  • Length of protection: Subject to the terms of any agreement between the parties, protection lasts for as long as the information remains confidential.

f. Geographic Indicators

  • Nature of right: Protection is available where goods are identified as originating from a particular place.
  • Protection: An application must be made to the Registrar-General. A lawyer practising in Ghana must represent a non-resident applicant.
  • Enforcement: Any interested person can institute proceedings in the High Court. The remedies available are the same as for patents (see above, Patents).
  • Length of protection: No time frame is indicated.

g. Layout Designs and Integrated Circuits

  • Nature of right: Protection for layout designs is granted to original designs that have not been commercially exploited for more than two years anywhere in the world.
  • Protection: An application must be made to the Registrar-General.
  • Enforcement: The layout design owner can bring legal proceedings to enforce his rights. The remedies available are the same as for patents (see above, Patents).
  • Length of protection: Protection lasts for ten years.