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Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights And Protection In Nigeria


Some of the laws governing IP rights and protection in Nigeria include:

• Copyright Act (as amended), Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
• Patents and Designs Act, Cap. P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
• Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
• Merchandise Marks Act, Cap. M10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
• Trade Malpractices (Miscellaneous Offences) Act, Cap. T12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

There are also certain international IP regimes in the form of treaties that have been ratified by Nigeria, such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (ratified in September 1963); the Berne Convention (1986); the Rome Convention (Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations – ratified in October 1993); the Patent Law Treaty (ratified in April 2005) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (ratified in May 2005). However, not all existing and important IP related treaties have been ratified in accordance with the provisions of section 12(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) (as amended). This flies in the face of the substantial commitment demonstrated by the country over the years to multilateral efforts aimed at developing and protecting the rights of IP owners globally, exemplified in the country’s membership of the WIPO (since 1993) and the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) (since 1995).

Whilst there is currently no special body with the mandate to generally oversee the various IP regimes in Nigeria, certain industry-specific institutions and regulations have over the years been established to govern IP in the country. These include the following:

• The Nigerian Copyright Commission (“NCC”) – established under the Copyright Act to regulate creative activities such as music, publishing, artistic and literary works. Among the laudable achievement of the NCC in its bid to enhance copyright owner’s rights is the issuance of the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 and licensing of Collective Management Organisations to engage in collective management of copyright; issuance of the Copyright (Optical Discs Plants) Regulations 2006, which regulates all disc manufacturing companies in Nigeria by requiring them to compulsorily register with the NCC after meeting certain specified conditions for operation;

• The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (“NBC”) – established under the National Broadcasting Commission Act (Cap. NII, LFN 2004) and vested with the responsibilities of regulating and controlling broadcasting rights, licenses and assignments in Nigeria;