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Developing Regional IP Task Force Coordination Action Plans for Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Kenya

Delegates from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Kenya at the Global Intellectual Property Academy, USPTO

Over the course of the week long Consultations, 24 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Nigeria participated in discussions with each other and USG officials, inter alia, the following: The Importance of Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement; Protecting and Enforcing local culture and works of authors; Trademark & Counterfeiting Issues, Federal IP enforcement structure in the US from the DOJ Perspective; Lessons Learned In Prosecuting IP Cases, Issues in Operating a Customs Recordation System and Coordination with IP Offices; Targeting Importations: Risk Analysis Discussion and Interagency Cooperation; IPR Investigations and Border Enforcement, and the Role of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

In a novel discussion with the private sector both US and abroad, opened by DOC Principal DAS John Andersen, the delegates engaged with rights holders over concerns about IP protection and enforcement. The dialogue included representatives of BASCAP, US Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, Pfizer, INTA, and IIPA on best practices for public-private partnership in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Another dozen rights holders participated via teleconference. The delegates visited the Intellectual Property Rights Center on the fourth day of the consultations to see how the US enforcement agencies work together daily on an operational basis. The week-long consultations wrapped-up on the fifth day with a focus on the next steps in the development of regional IP task force coordination action plans for each country with the goal of facilitating an improved IP interagency approach, and thus a more effective protection and enforcement of IP in their respective countries.

The workshop illuminated the impact of counterfeiting and piracy in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria on health and safety and economic development. The workshop also identified the specific and general needs for greater collaboration, coordination and communication amongst the different agencies and with the private sector in order to improve the protection and enforcement of IP in the West and East Africa regions. Consensus was built around the desirability of establishing an Interagency Task Forces as the most effective mechanism to achieve those goals.

Areas of Expertise
Countries and Regions