Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Caroline B Ncube

IP policies in Africa no. 36 - 38: Namibia, Niger and Nigeria

Namibia's WIPOLex entry (here) does not list a national IP policy. However Darren's post (here) alerted Afro-IP readers to recent developments relating to Namibia's new IP legislation. In 2012 the country promulgated the Industrial Property Act  (available in full here) which will come into force once implementing regulations are in place. Namibia has also introduced a new IP administrative structure, the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), although the BIPA Act  has not yet been passed (see media reports here and here).

Niger is the only LDC amongst the three countries reviewed today. The country's WIPOLex entry (here) does not include a  national IP policy. This Leo was unable to unearth any  information about a national IP policy formulation process in Niger. It is more likely that any such development will emanate from OAPI, of which Niger is a member.

Nigeria's WIPOLex entry (here) makes no reference to a national IP policy. However, according to a 2012-2013 WIPO report (here) a policy formulation process has been launched. Presumably, a national IP policy will be finalised soon. The country's Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2011 (available here) deals with IP, in clause 3.4. The clause begins with this restatement of  the usual utilitarian rationale for IP protection:
"There is need to create and protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and give recognition to creative Nigerians in order to stimulate the development of inventions as well as create wealth for IP owners and country" (sic). It then proceeds to set out  the following strategies in clause 3.4.3:

i.Ensuring adequate intellectual property recognition, promotion and protection of
creativities, traditional knowledge, indigenous technology and other intellectual assets.
ii. Building local capacities in intellectual property management for effective transfer of
iii. Promoting a sustainable culture on intellectual property at all educational levels [This Leo is not sure what this means].
iv. Establishing and strengthening Technology Transfer Offices for effective management
and utilisation of Intellectual Property Rights in the National System of Innovation.
v. Providing appropriate incentives for creativity and innovation to stimulate creativity and
vi. Developing a viable IP policy especially regarding royalties and ownerships mechanism
for equitable distribution of benefits accruing from inventions, traditional knowledge,
biodiversity resources and innovations among stakeholders.
vii. Establishing, regularly updating and facilitating access to intellectual property data bank
and portals.
viii. Ensuring a dynamic development of the IPR system to address new and emerging
creativities including initiating when appropriate, the enactment and review of IP laws
to incorporate all aspects and issues relating to plant breeders rights, traditional
knowledge and genetic resources
ix. Encouraging partnership with International IPR systems and organisations such as
x. Supporting the development of IP assets through incubation and commercialisation
xi. Developing the required human capital to protect and enforce IP legislature and

Of these, strategies vi and ix are of the most interest to this Leo. The first (vi), because its promise of an IP policy to follow and the second (ix) because of its reference to ARIPO. As many  Afro-IP readers know, Nigeria is not an ARIPO member but has observer status. One of the oft-repeated regrets about ARIPO is the fact that Nigeria and South Africa are not members. Indeed it has been said that PAIPO (the proposed Pan-African IP organisation) ought to be formed to net these big economies... but that's a debate for another day. For today, this Leo is happy to sign off with her rather slim pickings of IP policy developments in Namibia, Niger and Nigeria. 

See Kingsley's overview of Namibia's official IP websites here
See Kingsley's overview of Niger's official IP websites here
See Kingsley's overview of Nigeria's official IP websites here

Caroline B Ncube

Caroline B Ncube

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26 February 2015 at 19:47 delete

Rather silly of me to comment on a post 4 months old, but I couldn't resist. I believe "Promoting a sustainable culture on intellectual property at all educational levels" means developing respect for and an understanding of IP at all levels of education, primary, secondary, college, etc. Nigeria's IP bodies are pretty keen on educating people of all ages.

4 March 2015 at 13:31 delete

Hi Aurelia - its never too late to comment :)
I would imagine that's what it means but I think its too grand a vision and therefore probably unattainable.