Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Nigeria to Have One Commission for IP?

Lawmakers and stakeholders have been tossing around a proposal to unite Nigeria's various intellectual property bodies under one roof for many years.  The Nigerian Intellectual Property Commission, or NIPCOM for short, would combine the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Trademark and Patent Office.  NIPCOM was originally approved in 2006 by the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.  Nothing happened to further the creation of the commission.  (Although many people started referring to NIPCOM as an existing agency.)  The Punch reports that a draft bill to form NIPCOM is now before the "appropriate government."

It is unclear how well such a merger between the two bodies would work, since there is a lot of animosity between them.  There is also the possibility that combining the two could involve more logistical issues than meet the eye. Of course there is the regular set of ego-problems, needing to turn two DGs and two Secretaries, and two of everything else into one each.  But, there is also the problem that the two agencies may currently be under the auspices of different Federal Ministries.  Afro-Leo knows for sure that the NCC is under the Ministry of Justice, but was unable to find out if the Trademark and Patent Office was also moved.  (If not, it may still be under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.)

Afro-Leo is a little curious about the development reported by The Punch.  Does a draft bill in front of the executive really mean an already approved agency is any closer to actually existing?  Afro-Leo would be interested to hear thoughts, especially from Nigerian practitioners or members of the current IP agencies.

No comments: