Reps support bill on protection of intellectual property, innovation

• To boost prospects of doing business in Nigeria ― Oluga

Members of the House of Representatives, on Thursday, expressed overwhelming support for the bill which seeks to strengthen the legal protection of inventions such as patents, utility models and designs in Nigeria.

The private member bill sponsored by Hon Oluga Taiwo also seeks to repeal the Patents Design Act of 1971 and re-enact the Patents and Designs Act 2019, to bring about an upgrade in the body of laws governing Patents, Designs and Utility Models in Nigeria.

According to Hon Oluga, the “1971 Act does not even recognize Utility Models as a type of Patent or Class of Intellectual Property in Nigeria. This is in contravention of the International Legal Instruments on Intellectual Property.”

As stipulated in Clause 2 of the bill, some of the patent inventions excluded from patent protection include: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games; methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body, this provision shall not apply to products for use in any of those methods; inventions, the prevention within the country of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect public order or morality, which includes: the protection of human, animal or plant life or health; or the avoidance of serious prejudice to the environment; if the exclusion is not made because the exploitation is ‘prohibited; Plants and animals and other than micro-organism; biological processes for the protection of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes; and plant varieties.

According to her, the Patent Bill was designed to enhance the quality of life of all Nigerians. It provides a comprehensive industrial/intellectual property system that protects innovations and creative expressions.

“It is a helpful pre-condition to creating and using new technology and therefore, it would boost economic growth and aid development. A strong system of intellectual property rights is indispensable to technological development and advancement.

“The current legal framework for the administration of Patents in Nigeria is not only outdated but also inadequate to meet the needs of the modern society. In the current age of international trade, Nigeria cannot afford to be Isolated neither is it insulated from world events.

“Therefore, the prospects of doing business in Nigeria should be at par with what obtains in other countries of the world by strengthening the intellectual property regime in Nigeria, through the instrumentality of this bill.

“The Intellectual property rights are exclusive rights that are conferred by law to an individual, enterprise, corporation or any Legal entity for the products of that individual, enterprise or Corporations or any legal entity for the product of his or its Intellects.

“Products of intellects can take many forms as we know, and those that would be protected include scientific inventions, industrial designs, signs of a purely commercial value or Trademarks, a trade secret on the one hand; and they may be in the form of literary works, it may be in a form of artistic work or a Musical work.

“Intellectual property law does confer on the individual, the Exclusive rights of exploiting, assigning, transmitting and Contracting out creations of intellect. Those creations would have to be in some form as expressed in a legally admissible formal and, in some cases, are subject to registration procedures.

“In other words, the same way a person owns land or a person may own a car or any other item or property, the law provides for the protection of those tangible rights and ownership, provides protection and grants the individual exclusive rights to exploits the land or car in terms of selling it, renting it or exporting or importing a car or tangible asset, in the same way with intellectual property, the law provides protection for exclusive exploitation, assignment, transmission and the contracting-out of novel creations of the intellect,” she noted.

While ruling on the bill, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Idris Wase referred it to the Committee on Commerce for further legislative action.

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Reps support bill on protection of intellectual property, innovation

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