• (230) 4278861, 4260399

Enforcement of IPRs in Liberia


Enforcement of IPRs
The Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), which operates under MOCI, lacks both the technical and financial capacity to address IPR infringements. It does not have a system to track and report on seizures of the counterfeit goods or to prosecute the IPR violations. Furthermore, many Liberians are not familiar with the IPR issues and do not understand what constitutes an IPR infringement.
Vendors in Liberia sell counterfeit drugs, apparel, cosmetics, mobile phones, computer software, and hardware openly.
They are as follows:
  • An Act to Repeal an Act Adopting a New Copyright Law of the Republic of Liberia approved July 23, 1997;
  • The Industrial Property Act of Liberia approved March 20, 2003, constituting Title 24 of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised, and to enact in their stead a New Title 24 to be known as the ‘Liberia Intellectual Property Act, 2016';
  • The Trademark Act of Liberia, 2014; and
  • The Intellectual Property Act 2016 (the Act).
Copyright, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Patents, Utility Models, and Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Liberia.
Generally, where the IP rights holder wishes to preserve the evidence, provisional measures can be obtained by obtaining an order of the court that is deemed very significant in instances of infringement, which is why it has become a common practice.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
A) Responsible Authority - High Court
B) Imprisonment Term - up to 02 years, but not exceeding 05 years
C) Monetary Fine – A fine of not less than the United States One Thousand and Five Hundred Dollars (US$1,500.00) and not more than the United States Two Thousand-Five Hundred Dollars (US$2,500.00)
Other criminal remedies include forfeiture of real property where the infringing activity took place, vehicles used to transport infringing goods, intangibles such as licences and equipment and devices used to execute the infringing act.
ADR mechanisms are not frequently resorted to; however, these may be sought in the event.
The remedies available under border control measures (customs) in Liberia include destruction of goods without any compensation.
The applicant must bear the cost of customs intervention during enforcement.
In such an instance, the goods are likely to be released from detention.
Court proceedings
The legal environment for IP protections in Liberia is weak, the level of IP law enforcement is poor, and the infringement on rights is common. Although the MOCI currently has oversight on IP issues, it does not have an effective system in place to track and report on the seizures of counterfeit goods. Holders of IP rights have theoretical access to judicial redress, but laws pertaining to patents, trademarks, and industrial designs are not enforced.