Ghana - 5-Protection of Property RightsGhana - Protection of Property Rights
The legal system recognizes and enforces secured interest in property. The process to get clear title over land is difficult, complicated, and lengthy. It is important to conduct a thorough search at the Lands Commission to ascertain the identity of the true owner of any land being offered for sale. Investors should be aware that land records can be incomplete or non-existent and, therefore, clear title may be impossible to establish.
Mortgages exist, although there are only a few thousand in existence due to a variety of factors including land ownership issues and scarcity of long-term finance. Mortgages are regulated by the Home Mortgages Finance Act 770 (2008) which has enhanced the process of foreclosure. A mortgage must be registered under the Land Title Registration Law, a requirement that is mandatory for it to take effect. Registration with the Land Title Registry is a reliable system of recording the transaction.
Intellectual Property Rights
The protection of intellectual property is an evolving area of law in Ghana. Progress has been made in recent years to afford protection under both local and international law. Ghana is a party to the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention for the Prosecution of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PTC), the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty (STLT), and the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks. Ghana is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the English-speaking African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2004, Ghana’s Parliament ratified the WIPO internet treaties, namely the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty. Since December 2003, Ghana’s Parliament has passed six bills designed to bring Ghana into compliance with WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requirements. The new laws are: Copyright, Trade Marks, Patents, Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits, Geographical Indications, and Industrial Designs. Except for the copyright law, implementing regulations necessary for fully effective promulgation has not been passed.
The Government of Ghana launched its National Intellectual Property Policy and strategy in January 2016. Devised to strengthen the legal and institutional framework to protect intellectual property rights, the strategy highlights and allocates resources across an initial 34 projects to be implemented over the succeeding 5 years (2016-2020). The projects include amendments of existing laws as well as automation of IP registration.
Despite Ghana’s effort to strengthen its IPR regime, enforcement remains weak and piracy of intellectual property takes place in Ghana. Although precise statistics are not available for many sectors, counterfeit computer software regularly shows up at street markets and counterfeit pharmaceuticals have found their way into public hospitals. Counterfeit products have also been discovered in such disparate sectors as industrial epoxy, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, drinking spirits, and household cleaning products. Based on cases where it has been possible to trace the origin of counterfeit goods, most have been found to have been produced outside the region, usually in Asia. Holders of intellectual property rights have access to local courts for redress of grievances, although the few trademark, patent, and copyright infringement cases that have been filed in Ghana by American companies have reportedly moved through the legal system slowly.
Resources for Rights Holders
Please contact the following at Mission Accra if you have further questions regarding IP issues:
No. 24 Fourth Circular Road, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana
A list of local lawyers can be found at: Ghana U.S. Embassy - Attorneys
American Chamber of Commerce Ghana
5TH Crescent Street, Asylum Down
P.O. Box CT2869, Cantonments-Accra, Ghana
Tel: 233 030 2247562/233 030 7011862
Fax: 233 030 2247562
For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at WIPO.Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.
Ghana Economic Development and Investment Law