Registrar General launches the National Intellectual Property Policy (2019-2023)

The Department of Registrar General on Friday 3rd May launched the long-awaited first ever National Intellectual Property (IP) Policy for Malawi at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe. The Guest of Honour was the Honorable Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mr Samuel Tembenu, SC. In his opening remarks, he expressed his delight to finally have the IP policy launched, signifying that the country indeed identifies the critical role of intellectual property (IP). Earlier sentiments of appreciation to the persona behind the development of the IP policy were made by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice, Madam Lynn Hiwa, SC. She registered her appreciation to the office of the Registrar General, the Director General of ARIPO, Mr Fernando Dos Santos for the technical and financial support. It was noted that the policy was developed out of the realization that creativity and innovation are drivers of modern economic growth and development. Acknowledgements were also made to Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) who started developing the Policy in 2008 under the supervision of the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST).

Snapshots of the IP policy

The overall policy goal is to leverage IP as a tool for promoting and stimulating creativity and innovation for economic growth and development. The desired outcomes of the policy include: modernized and improved IP administration and management; effective and balanced legal framework and environment for IPRs; increased generation, protection, exploitation and commercialization of IP assets both within and outside of Malawi; increased awareness about IPRs among the general public, policy makers, potential users such as creators, innovators and artists, entrepreneurs, industry, academic and research and development institutions; and finally increased uptake and utilization of the IP system by various stakeholders, including academia, R&D institutions, private sector and the industry, the youth, MSMEs and informal sector.

Obligations of NCST towards implementation of the IP Policy

There are a number of stakeholders in the IP system who are expected to bank roll the implementation of the IP policy and among them are the regulators and IP management institutions (Registrar General and COSOMA) as well as the institutions with the mandate of promoting technology development, transfer and commercialization such as NCST. The Commission will specifically play a critical role of promoting the generation, protection, and exploitation of IP by academia, R&D institutions and innovators who the IP system is expected to support. The Commission will closely collaborate with Department of Registrar General to create an enabling IP ecosystem that will support invention and innovation as building blocks of technological advancement and development.  Other stakeholders in the IP ecosystem who will be critical in ensuring that the IP Policy is able to deliver the expected outcomes include the following: Ministry responsible for Culture; Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; Environmental Affairs Department; Academia; Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS); Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development; Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; TEVETA and development partners.

WIPO2Spicing the  launch was also a panel discussion involving the Director General of ARIPO – Mr. Fernando Dos Santos (middle), Mrs Gift Kadzamira – Director of Documentation and Information from NCST (middle), Mrs Dorah Salamba – Executive Director of COSOMA (far right) and Registrar General – Mr Chikumbutso Namelo (far left). Refer below:

The panel discussion centred on the best practices learnt from other countries in the way they are implementing IP policies and also on the roles of the key stakeholders in the policy implementation process.

Where can stakeholders find the much needed document?

Stakeholders can obtain the policy document from the Registrar General or can have access to the policy documents from the Online Portal on the NCST website, or simply follow the URL

In conclusion, the Registrar General assured the public that the IP policy is implementable and it is the only policy under their mandate they will ensure that the policy achieves the expected outcomes and helps to change the lives of the creators, innovators and inventors.