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Nigeria restates commitment to protection of intellectual property

By Joseph Chibueze and Fehintola Adewale, Abuja
19 September 2022   |   4:28 pm
The federal government has once again said it has a deliberate policy to ensure the protection of intellectual property.

The federal government has once again said it has a deliberate policy to ensure the protection of intellectual property.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami stated this yesterday while declaring open a three-day National Multi-Stakeholders Workshop for the Validation of the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Abuja.

The workshop was organised by the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Malami who was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba said the federal government has always acknowledged the need for a separate policy on intellectual property based on the conviction that the future of Nigeria’s economy will be decisively influenced by technology and the creative industry.

According to him, “Convinced of the need to bring the country’s intellectual property laws to international standard, this administration in October 2017 ratified four treaties in the field of copyright.

“This bold step has been followed by the re-enactment of the Copyright Bill which has been passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and is awaiting transmission and assent. In addition, earlier in 2021, the President had assented to the Plants Varieties Protection Act as part of a deliberate policy to protect the rights of plant breeders who propagate new and improved plant varieties.”

The Minister expressed the hope that the new Intellectual Property Policy would serve as a catalyst for the needed reforms in all aspects of intellectual property law and administration, especially the Trade Marks Act, the Patents and Designs Act as well as the Merchandise Marks Act, all of which he said require comprehensive review.

“The Government is aware of the importance of a national policy in the generation, protection, use and promotion of intellectual property assets. However, a Policy is only as good as its implementation. It is therefore heartwarming that a complementary implementation strategy has also been developed outside the Policy. As envisaged in that strategy, we must intensify our engagement with relevant stakeholders to make them understand and use the document for informed actions,” he said.

He promised that the Federal Government will give the final stages of the validation process the attention that it deserves.

Earlier in his remarks, the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Daren Tang, said the intellectual property system exists to create some guarantees for the invested sweat and toil of all those innovators and creators of these solutions and encourages them to continue finding new ways to continue improving lives everywhere.

The WIPO DG who was represented by Ms Loretta Asiedu, Senior Counsellor, Division for Africa, said with a population of over 200 million, the hugely creative and innovative potential existing even amongst the youth demographic in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

Director General Nigerian Copyright Commission, Dr John Asein in an interview, said the new policy strategy is to bring Nigerian Copyright laws in line with global standards as well as ensure that intellectual property is able to interface with all the sectors including the micro, small and medium scale enterprises as well as promoting intellectual property knowledge amongst users.

He said, “The creative economy in Nigeria has immense potential and we must do everything to harness it.”