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Malawi government reviews Intellectual Property laws

Malawi government has said it is in the process of reviewing Intellectual Property laws.

Apart from revising the laws, the government is also developing Intellectual Property Policy.

Minister of Justice, Samuel Tembenu, said this in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the opening of a two-week Seminar on the Patent Cooperation Treaty, organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) and Malawi government’s Department of Registrar General.

“The government has also embarked on revising our Intellectual Property laws. In particular, the revision of the Copyright Act and the Trademarks Bill are being finalised. I can assure you that my Ministry will work tirelessly to have these two pieces of legislation in Cabinet as soon as possible,” he said.

He said the legal regimes must be modern and attuned to the practical day-to-day realities, challenges and opportunities faced the country.

“I am glad to say that government is aware that we are lagging behind in the exploitation and protection of our IP assets. It is for this reason that government is taking several measures to address this. One of these measures includes the development of Intellectual Property Policy, which shall emphasise the importance of IP exploitation and protection,” he said.

He also said the policy shall address issues of capacity building, awareness and institutional development.

“My Ministry, through the Department of Registrar General, will, therefore, be holding a final consultative meeting towards the end of August this year to finalise the draft policy in readiness for presentation to a forum of Principal Secretaries before submission to Cabinet for approval,” he said.

On patents, Tembenu said it is important that the country’s research and development institutions are aware of the importance of patents.

“Patents are a valuable research source. The legal requirement for novelty to obtain a patent plus full disclosure creates a rich source of technical information for researchers and innovators,” he said.

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