GHANA IP GUIDEWest Africa

Intellectual Property Ghana
The Republic of Ghana is an independent republic in West Africa. Ghana is bordered by Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and the Ivory Coast to the west. The Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean lies to the south of Ghana.

Area: 238 533 km2

Population: 27,043,093

Capital: Accra

Currency: Cedi

GDP: $131.498 billion (2017)

Trade Marks

Ghana is a member of the Paris Convention and the Madrid Protocol, but there are as yet no implementing provisions. Ghana is also a member of the WTO/TRIPS.

Provision is made for the registration of trade marks for goods and services and for collective marks.

Patents

Ghana is a member of the Paris Convention, the PCT, ARIPO (Harare Protocol) and the WTO/TRIPS.

Patent protection is available by way of a national filing, or via an ARIPO or a PCT application designating Ghana. Ghana has implemented the Harare Protocol (which regulates patent and design filings in ARIPO) in its national laws, thereby giving valid patent protection to applicants seeking to obtain a patent via an ARIPO application. Ghana has also enacted provisions to implement the PCT, thereby providing valid patent protection to applicants of international applications designating Ghana.

Designs

Ghana is a member of the Paris Convention, the Hague Agreement, the ARIPO (Harare Protocol) and the WTO/TRIPS.

Although Ghana has an Industrial Designs Act no 660 of 2003, the implementing regulations have not yet been passed. Accordingly, currently the Registry only accepts and processes applications relating to textile designs. All other designs are not registrable in Ghana by way of national filings pending the implementation of the regulations. Non-textile design applications filed with the Registrar’s office are only accepted for onward transmission to ARIPO for processing and registration by the ARIPO office.

Since Ghana has acceded to the Harare Protocol of ARIPO, design protection can be obtained in Ghana via an ARIPO application designating Ghana.

Ghana has also acceded to the Hague Agreement for the international registration of designs. The 2003 Act does not provide for the implementation of the Hague registration system, so that the position in regard to such registrations is not clear. 

Design protection is obtained by way of:

  • design registration through ARIPO designating Ghana
  • national registration in Ghana (for textile designs only).

As indicated above, registration under the Hague Agreement is uncertain.

Copyright

Ghana is a member of the Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WTO/TRIPS.

The following works are eligible for copyright protection:

  • literary works
  • artistic works
  • musical works
  • sound recordings
  • audio-visual works
  • choreographic works
  • derivative works
  • computer programs
  • expressions of folklore.

Copyright does not extend to ideas, concepts, procedures, methods or other things of a similar nature.

Plant Breeders' Rights

Currently, no legislative provision for plant breeders’ rights or other sui generis protection for plants is available in Ghana.

Company Law

Business vehicles

There are three forms of companies commonly used by foreign investors:

  • Company limited by shares.
  • Company limited by guarantee.
  • Unlimited liability company.

Competition Law

Ghana currently has no national competition law or policy in place. However, in certain instances specific sector or industry legislation makes provision for competition related aspects.

Consumer Protection

Currently Ghana does not have consumer protection legislation. However, a draft consumer protection bill has been discussed in parliament and is expected to be promulgated soon.

When in force, the act will aim to protect consumers from unfair trade practices which adversely affect the health, safety and economic interests of consumers. An independent consumer protection authority will also be established in order to enforce the legislation and also to coordinate all consumer activities.

Data Protection

Since the promulgation of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) (DPA) data protection in Ghana is now regulated by the standard provisions of the DPA. A Data Protection Commission (DPC) has also been established. The DPC is responsible for monitoring the processing of data information, and ensuring that such processing does not violate the provisions of the DPA.

Dispute Resolution

The Ghanaian Judicial System is structured into Superior Courts and Lower Courts. The Superior Courts comprise (in descending order of jurisdiction) of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court, with the Lower Courts comprising of the Circuit Courts, District Courts and Juvenile Courts. The District Court is governed by the District Court Rules, the High Court is governed by the High Court Civil Procedure Rules and the Court of Appeal by the Court of Appeal Rules. The Supreme Court is governed by C.I. 16 of 1999.

Employment Law

Governing Legislation Labour Act 651 of 2003 and the Labour Regulations 2007.

Particulars of employment

A contract of employment must be in writing for workers employed for 6 months or longer and a written statement of particulars must be given to an employee within 2 months of commencement of employment.

Exchange Control

Until 2006, Ghana operated a strict foreign exchange control regime which was replaced by the Foreign Exchange Act of 2006 (the Act), which has introduced a more liberal regime.

Tax Law

The Internal Revenue Act 2000 was passed in 2001 to administer direct taxes.

Ghanaian income tax is defined as the total of a person’s assessable income from business, employment and investment less allowable deductions.

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