Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has admitted that the country is lagging behind in the exploitation and protection of its intellectual property (IP) assets.
IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
This means that by striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system fosters an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
Speaking at workshop in Lilongwe this week on patent cooperation treaty organisation by World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), Tembenu said IP is of paramount importance to the welfare of human kind, hence the need for the country to revise its IP laws.
“Government is aware that as a country we are lagging behind in the exploitation and protection of our IP assets. It is for this reason that we are taking several measures to address this. One of the measures includes the development of intellectual property policy which shall emphasise the importance of IP exploitation,” he said.
Tembenu said his ministry, through the Registrar General’s office, will be holding a final consultative meeting towards the end of August this year to finalise the draft policy in readiness for presenation to a forum of principal secretaries before submission to Cabinet for approval.
He said government has also embarked on the revision of the Copyright Act and that the Trade Marks Bill is being finalised by the Ministry of Justice.
Solicitor General Janet Banda, who is also Secretary for Justice, said government is aware that protection of IP assets is territorial in nature, hence the existence of international treaties such as the Harare Protocol for member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) under Wipo to guide members.n