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15 Apr 2024
BY Patricia Jane Mumuni AND Essie Anno

Exciting administrative changes in Ghana’s Industrial Property Office

At a recent stakeholder workshop organised by the Ghana Industrial Property Office (“GHIPO”), the governmental agency which manages and promotes intellectual property rights in Ghana, several upcoming changes to its administrative system were announced. The changes are aimed at modernising and enhancing efficiency in trade mark registration and enforcement processes.

Some of the key changes are highlighted below:

  1. The most anticipated change is the introduction of an online system for the registration of trade marks. This digital system would enable trade mark applicants and agents to file, pay for and manage trade mark applications online. Expected to launch in July 2024, it promises to revolutionise the application experience in Ghana.
  2. In addition to the digital transition, GHIPO hinted at the possibility of introducing a fee structure for trade mark applications where the goods and services of the trade mark exceed one page. This potential change underscores GHIPO's commitment to managing trademark filings effectively.
  3. From July 2024, GHIPO intends to adopt a more stringent approach to enforcing the current trade mark laws in Ghana. This is to avoid any abuse of process by trade mark applicants and/or agents, to ensure efficiency and fairness in the trade mark application process. Therefore, certain practices would no longer be permitted by GHIPO.

        Below are some examples:

  • IP agents would no longer be allowed to file the trade mark application form (TM2 Form) and the Power of Attorney (“POA”) separately. In exceptional circumstances where the POA cannot be obtained for reasons beyond the agent’s control, GHIPO may accept a POA filed within a maximum of 2 weeks from the date of filing the trade mark application.
  • Where a trade mark agent is taking over a trade mark from another agent, the agent would first be required to file a POA revoking the previous POA on record.
  • Additionally, trade mark agents would not be able to act on any matter (including applying for an extension of prosecution time) unless they are the agent on record.

 

These proposed changes, if effectively implemented, are poised to simplify and expedite trademark applications, fostering a more efficient and transparent trademark ecosystem in Ghana. As stakeholders await these reforms, anticipation is high for a smoother and more accessible intellectual property registration and enforcement framework in the country.

 

Patricia Jane Mumuni

Executive | Ghana

pmumuni@ENSafrica.com

 

Essie Anno

Associate | Ghana

eanno@ENSafrica.com