In today’s economic environment, intangible assets are becoming increasingly important. These assets, which are the result of human intellectual creative activity such as inventions, designs, know-how, and artistic creations, are known as “intellectual property.”
Among the forms of intellectual property specifically entitled to legal protection are inventions, trademarks, designs, literary works, layout-designs of integrated circuits and trade secrets. As the volume of trade in goods and services involving intellectual property has increased greatly in recent years, the importance of the protection of intellectual property for the world economy has grown enormously and Liberia is of no exception.
Inappropriate and insufficient protection of intellectual property can distort free trade, foreign direct investment, innovation, public health, genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
Almost everyone in society is a user and potential creator of intellectual property. Its protection, through a system of national and international rules called intellectual property rights, is necessary to provide incentives and financing for innovation and creation, which in turn leads to economic, cultural and social progress.
Protection for intellectual property also encourages the production and dissemination of knowledge and a wide range of quality goods and services. Intellectual property rights add value for consumers and can provide a guarantee of source and quality.
Intellectual property protection contributes to economic growth in both developed and developing countries by stimulating innovation, cultural diversity and technical development as part of a larger policy framework.
Properly used, intellectual property rights can also be key tools for the alleviation of poverty through trade. The immense adverse economic and social impact of intellectual property theft requires that combating counterfeiting and piracy become a priority for society, and not just right holders.
Unless governments, businesses and citizens make a coordinated effort to uphold the intellectual property system, our society will not reap its benefits and we will fall short of reaching the status of a fully functional develop country.