On 22 October 2021, the Ghana Industrial Property Office issued an official notice, which mainly states that:
“Request(s) for search (es) in respect of Industrial Property should comply with the requirement (s) for searches states in the Law (s) and or Regulations of the particular Industrial Property”.
Legal practitioners in the region have advised that the rather vague notice follow the registry’s recent notices to practitioners that they must provide authorization from the proprietor of trademarks to conduct status searches on trademarks. The requirement is a cause for concern, as, in addition to being onerous, will undoubtedly also hamper the prosecution of applications and the running of litigation proceedings.
In addition, the requirement appears not to be supported by the provisions of the applicable legislation and regulations. The relevant provisions state, in the main, that, “the register of trademarks shall be opened to the public and any person may obtain an extract from the register in accordance with the Act”; “a person may obtain a certified copy of an entry in the register from the Registrar on payment of the prescribed fee; and “the register and all documents in connection with registration of trademark shall be open for the inspection of the public, and copies of or extracts from such registers or documents may be obtained during business hours.  Therefore, the trademarks register, in terms of the legislation, is a matter of public record, which must be accessible to the public, without undue restrictions.
Legal practitioners in the region have sought clarification from the registry on the notice and the Registrar’s requirement. However, it appears that, pending the withdrawal of the notice, the registry’s directive stands.
 Sections 19(4) and 42(20 of the Trademarks Act 2004 (Act 664) and Regulation 67 of the Trademarks Regulations 1970.