Parliament Adopts Report on Bill to Protect Intellectual Property Rights

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Gambian parliament has on Tuesday, 5 March 2024, adopted a report on the bill entitled ‘Intellectual Property Bill-2023’.

Tabled by the Justice Minister Dawda Jallow, the bill seeks to give effect to intellectual property rights. He said the administrative responsibility for intellectual property is currently fragmented and administered by two distinct institutions in the Gambia.

After the debate on the bill during the second reading in the 2023 legislative year, the bill was passed to the Assembly’s Business Committee (ABC) for committal to the relevant committee. The ABC thus committed the bill to the Committee on Tourism, Culture and Youth and Arts, to seek the views of concerned actors, and advise the plenary through developing and tabling a report before the assembly, for consideration and adoption.

In that light, the report was tabled on Tuesday, 5 March 2024 by the Chairperson and Member for Basse Constituency, Hon. Saikou Bah.

Hon. Bah while tabling the report informed the plenary that they engaged stakeholders on the bill to have their views, which enabled the committee to gain valuable insight into best practices in intellectual property enforcement and management. The committee he said was tasked with the review of the IP Bill 2023; present its findings and recommendations to enhance its intellectual property frameworks to be in line with the current best practices.

“The committee engaged in a thorough review process, meticulously examining each of the clauses of the bill with expert opinion, and relevant stakeholders were consulted to ensure that a well-informed assessment,” Hon. Bah said.

He told the Assembly that after their review and engagements on the bill, the Committee resolved that Clause 1 should be maintained without amendment and for it to stand as part of the IP Bill. However, on Clause 2, he said the committee recommended that the words ‘most favoured nation treatment’ in the interpretation be deleted and for the Clause to be part of the bill.

On Clauses 57-65 dealing with trade mark, he said the committee did not propose any amendment but recommended that the Clause stand as part of the bill. On industrial design in Clause 45-55, the committee proposed no amendment and determined that the clauses stand as part of the bill. He added that the committee also did not propose any amendment on Clauses 218-225 dealing with the intellectual property tribunal, but said the committee recommended amendment on Clause 219. He said the amended version of Clause 219 be read thus: “The tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson who will be appointed by the Chief Justice and four other members including a private sector representative appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.” 

During the debate, lawmakers hailed the committee for the report on the bill which seeks to protect properties of owners and ensure that their properties are not illegally utilized.

Subsequently, the report on the Intellectual Property Bill was adopted by members of the National Assembly.

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