Sierra Leone - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property
Last published date: 2021-09-14

Sierra Leone is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). Sierra Leone is a member of the WTO and is therefore bound by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Sierra Leone has not ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty or the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Rights. Despite its recognition of international standards, Sierra Leone’s protection of intellectual property is limited. Laws dating back to the colonial era mean that patents and trademarks registered in the United Kingdom can be extended to Sierra Leone. Efforts to update the country’s legal framework have thus far included the Copyright Act 2011, the Patents and Industrial Design Act 2012, and the Trademark Act 2014. Nonetheless, legal protections remain outdated and incomplete, and government enforcement is minimal due to resource and capacity limitations. Customs screening for counterfeit goods is weak, and the government does not publish statistics about seizures of counterfeit goods.