Liberia Industrial Property Office (LIPO) has revealed a new policy for the registration of brand names, trademarks, trade names, industry designs and patents to enhance the administration of the industrial property system.
LIPO acting officer-in-charge, Prince Decker, said this new administrative policy will aid in the administration of the 2003 Industrial Property Act for proper control and regulation of patents, trademarks and brand names in Liberia.”
“All applicants for the registration of trademarks, industrial designs, brand names and the granting of patents must completely exhaust all steps and procedures required before the industrial property certificate of registration can be obtained,” Mr. Decker added.
He also said the LIPO administration has an additional guideline and structure process for the protection of all industrial property materials across Liberia.
This new policy will be built on the confidence from stakeholders and right owners and it is a safeguard for infringement against right holders, he explained. All right holders are required to request for annual updates on their product, brand or service rights with LIPO to regularize the statute of the brand and avoid missing information on the next renewal date.
“We are hopeful that with implementation of this and other subsequent policy papers, improvement will be made in doing Patent and Trademark business in Liberia,” he emphasized.
He disclosed that this administrative policy has been in effect since July 1 and all industrial materials not renewed after the six-month deadline as provided by section 43 (4) (C) of the Industrial Property Act will be open to the market for eligible business entities or individuals for trade.
“Failure of right owners not to comply with the administrative instructions means non- compliance to the 2003 Industrial Property Act,” he stressed. “It is a complete violation that requires sanctions, revocation or cancellation of trademark rights, fines of not less than US$500.00, to be paid into Government Revenue as per section 51 (3) of the 2003 LIPO Act.”
He noted that applicants for late renewal of industrial property rights after the grace period of six month will pay a surcharge of 50% of the renewal fees for every month of expiration.
According to Mr. Decker, rights owned are the ones for the past years that have been making enquiries on the absence of relevant policy papers to ensure full protection of their rights and administrative punitive actions against infringers.
He further said LIPO undergoes broad based consultations with stakeholder and rights owners for harmonization of key points as proposed in the very first draft, especially as they relate to proceedings for notice of opposition.
Mr. Decker called on right holders and stakeholders in general to read and disseminate this positive information, as it is administrative policy. “We intend to work with them to ensure full implementation,” he added.