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Enforcement of IPRs in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Enforcement of IPRs
The main causes of counterfeiting and piracy in Sierra Leone are the weak infrastructure and administration to government the intellectual property rights.
Medicines and medical products most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Sierra Leone.
The intellectual property laws are generally modelled on the laws of the United Kingdom since Sierra Leone has a defended industry property system whereby patents originally granted in the United Kingdom automatically apply to Sierra Leone.
The laws currently in force are:
  • The Copyright Act, 2011 (Act No. 8 of 2011)
  • The Design and Patent legislation in 2012
  • The Trade Marks Act No. 8 of 2014 (the new Act)
Trademarks, Copyright, Industrial Designs, and Patents are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Sierra Leone.
As per section 50 of the Trademarks Act 2014, it is necessary where a dispute arises between any parties in relation to copyright or trademark, the parties involved in the dispute must first seek to negotiate a settlement of dispute among them through negotiation. Thereafter, the issue shall be mediated upon by the Commissioner General. Where new settlement is arrived upon mediation as well, the matter is then referred to the tribunal.
Yes – the limitation periods are provided for by the Limitation Act No. 51 of 1961. Generally, the limitation period for most cases is 06 years. The limitation period is triggered or starts running from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
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
In the case of abuse of enforcement measures during civil litigation where the court passes an order that is not complied to, the court may impose a fine, which is twice the original fine.
A) Responsible Authority - Tribunal, High Court
B) Imprisonment Term - Patents and Industrial Designs: A term not exceeding 01 year; Trademarks: up to 07 years; and Copyright: up to 05 years
C) Monetary Fine - Patents and Industrial Designs: A fine not exceeding Le60, 000, 000.00; Trademarks: up to Le100 million; Copyright: Le 60,000,000.00
In the case of abuse of enforcement measures during criminal prosecution where the court passes an order that is not complied to, the court may impose a fine, which is twice the original fine.
Arbitration is governed by 25 of the laws of Sierra Leone, 1960, known as the arbitration act. Although the parties do have the option of resorting to ADR techniques, they are not frequently resorted to in Sierra Leone. However, where the parties to the dispute conceptually agree to negotiate or mediate the dispute in accordance with the said act, they may do so in furtherance of a written contract.
The remedies available under border control measures (customs) in Sierra Leone include destruction of infringing goods outside the channels of commerce.
The applicant must bear the cost of customs intervention during enforcement.
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures or proceedings, the customs shall remove the goods from detention and restrain from taking action to protect the rights of the proprietor.
Court Proceedings
The major issues arising out of Sierra Leone is the frail framework for enforcing intellectual property rights. It has been observed that the claims are usually founded on torts, contracts, petitions, and criminal offences. However, enforcement of intellectual property rights is still a nuanced field.