The importance of protecting intellectual property in Nigeria and its positive impact on the country’s economy dominated the contributions of participants at the annual Intellectual Property Forum held recently, with the theme “Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Enforcement in Nigeria”.
“A robust intellectual property regime will definitely impact on the economy of the country. The government stands to gain from taxes and rates from a good commercialization of these rights,” said Obafemi Agaba, President of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria.
“To give rights to those who have created these works is encouraging them to continue to innovate and add value to the cultural heritage of the country and add value to the economic advancement of the country.”
According to him, “the whole concept of intellectual property stems from the concept of property itself. The concept of property is that relationship between an individual and a thing such that he can exercise right over that thing.”
“The law endorses an individual or a company to claim the exclusive exploitation of the produce of their intellectual exertion. It could be invention from a patent angle, it could be the creative work of knowledge or entertainment from copyright angle, it could be aesthetic appeal of a product from a design angle, and it could be trade insignias or product or services from a trademark angle”.
On enforcement, Obafemi Agaba said, “the Nigerian law provides for enforcement through the law court; regulatory agencies and law enforcement agencies such as the custom and excise department, and the police.”
Also contributing, Sola Arobieke, Senior Special Assistant to Ogun State Government on Industry, Trade, and Investment stressed the importance of research and development in promoting innovation.
“As a nation we do not promote innovation. There is not much investment in research and development.
Assistant Director and head of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN in Ogun State, Bunmi Kole-Dawodu who represented the Director General/CEO of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda said the department is making efforts to reorientate small and medium businesses to understand the need to protect their innovations.
“Most SMEs think that the most important thing is to start a business, make money and take care of the family. All other things will be taken of when the time comes.”
“We have organised townhall meetings to educate them. For every creation, the right to protect the creativity should be the first step. We have told them to trademark.”
The CEO of Fractional IP, Akeem Famuyiwa said “Nigeria should be able to leverage on intellectual property to grow the economy. There is a need to redesign the national intellectual property policy by focusing on areas that drive economy.”
The founder and CEO of IP Radio Nigeria, Nosakhare Uwadiae Esq., Founder said “people have been running their businesses for decades without the protection of their Intellectual Property rights. The idea of IP radio is to democratize intellectual property.”
“We don’t see intellectual property protection rights as only meant for the multinational. It is something that permeates all business facets. For us in Intellectual Property, it is a human right.
A lot of people don’t appreciate IP. It is never discussed at board meetings. We don’t want IP to be an afterthought. It should have a seat at the table.”