By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Dawda A. Jallow on Wednesday moved a motion for the second reading of the Intellectual Property Bill 2023 before the lawmakers.
The Intellectual Property Bill was first read before the National Assembly Members (NAMs) on Monday, June 5, 2023. The Attorney General told the NAMs that the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to Intellectual Property rights. He said that the administrative responsibility for intellectual property is currently fragmented, and is administered by two distinct institutions in the Gambia.
The Attorney General said the Industrial Property Rights are administered by the Ministry of Justice, while copyright and related rights are administered by the National Center for Arts and Culture under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
“This segregation of administration and mandate has generally affected the development and efficient administration of Intellectual Property Rights in the Gambia. The enactment of the Intellectual Property Bill 2023 will therefore streamline the administration of Intellectual Property Rights and make it a one-stop shop in line with the principles of ease of doing business and international best practices,” he said.
The attorney General said the enactment will also allow new Intellectual Property regimes which are beneficial to National and International Intellectual Property Rights holders to be incorporated into the Act.
“The Gambia being a member state of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Trade-Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has a legal obligation to ensure that Intellectual Property Rights are effectively administered in its rights’ jurisdiction. Therefore, as part of the process of defining the practical application of these conventions and agreements, this Bill has made provision to add adequate provision to address all issues of Intellectual Property rights,” he said.
The move of the Bill for the second reading was seconded by the NAM for Upper Saloum, Hon. Alhagie Mbowe. Subsequently, the speaker opened the floor for the NAMs to debate the general merits and principles of the Intellectual Property Bill 2023.
The Bill was then referred to the National Assembly Business Committee for Committal.