African intellectual property law, practice and policies. This weblog provides news, information and comment on IP law, practice and business deals right across Africa. Ce blog propose des actualités, informations, et commentaires sur la législation et la pratique en matière de propriété intellectuelle et de droit des contrats d'affaires en Afrique. For some insight into the origins of this blog click here.
Monday, 8 April 2013
A review of African official IP websites: no.38: Nigeria
During his research last year, this Leo found a dead link thought to be that of the intellectual property (IP) office in Nigeria. Thanks to one anonymous reader, we were able to learn that the correct web address is www.iponigeria.com. Therefore, Nigeria's IP office has a functioning website - but one which needs to be reviewed, populated and kept up-to-date like the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). (By the way, Afro Leo is glad to receive on the ground whisper that the current IP office Registrar is doing a fantastic job in ensuring due process and efficiency in IPRs administration)
Nonetheless, this Leo still needs to be enlightened on the essence of the accreditation programme run by the IP office. For example, does the current list of accredited agents comprise of all the law firms who represent IPRs owners before the office? He wonders whether it is now time for the legal industry in Nigeria to carve out a separate profession for IP practitioners (Afro Leo feels that a specialist profession - such as CIPA and ITMA - would be more focused and quicker in the advancement of IP law, policy and practice as well as the interests of IPRs owners)
This blog is also delighted with the proactive NCC despite the challenges that it has to face (see page 17 of the NCC 2012 Annual Report). Although the NCC's website is not the most fanciful, one would find that it holds tangible and exciting content (Though Afro Leo would love to see the CASES COURT page populated with actual court judgments)
Another IP-relevant public body, as we discovered last year, is the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). NOTAP's website is still live and running; but, as it appears, there is not much currently going on.
IP-related news from Nigeria
Political parties battle over "APC" acronym:You do not often see IP and politics in the same bed; but back in 2012, this Leo summarised an interesting dispute between a private company and Nigeria's electoral agency in a case which threatened the democratic process in Nigeria. This time, the political parties are asserting IPRs (trade mark and/or copyright).
According to this report, this Leo learns that the African Peoples Congress, All Progressive Congress and All Patriotic Citizens have all claimed ownership of the acronym, APC. Reacting to speculations, a spokesperson for the All Progressive Congress said, "...Thus by that public announcement, the name All Progressives Congress and the acronym, APC, became our intellectual property which we shall guard jealously.’’ ("Is this how one owns an IPR? Just like a commercial entity, it is assumed that political parties obtain legal advice and conduct due diligence - at least with INEC - before choosing their names and/or logos. Anyway, we do not have the luxury of an online registered IPRs database to know if powerful and well-funded political parties in Nigeria also register their names and/or logos as trade marks with the IP office," says Afro Leo. "By the way, the Labour Party in the United Kingdom has not less than 4 UK trade marks registered to its name," he adds).
Nigeria keen on generic drugs capacity: The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) wants to emulate the generic drugs industry in India by working with international partners for a royalty-free framework to develop and manufacture certain drugs, such as insulin, in Nigeria. Click here to read more.
Financial support for Nigeria's film industry: The recent financial support to Nollywood from the federal government in Nigeria has got stakeholders talking, according to this report. The two key challenges facing the industry are poor distribution infrastructure and inadequate private funding (since financial institutions are yet to be convinced on IP securitisation). Click here to read more.
Collecting society drama unfolds - again: According to The Guardian, a Federal High Court in Lagos has effectively reaffirmed the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) as a legitimate collecting society in Nigeria. Essentially, COSON is not the only collecting society. For previous blog posts on the battle of the societies, see here, here, here and here.
Former US Representative, Ron Paul, asserts his IPR, see here
Virginia Tech says "no" to political parties using trademark, see here
Branding of political parties, see here