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Expedite effort on patents law to improve Nigeria’s economy

By Mohammed usman

As federal government sets to improve the atmosphere for economic improvement, one aspect that stands to be relatively given consideration is patents law. Patents, according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia online, is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. It also said that an invention is a solution to a specific technological problem and is a product or a process, adding that Patents are a form of intellectual property. The Wikipedia also added that the exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent others, or at least to try to prevent others, from commercially making, using, selling, importing, or distributing a patented invention without permission.

According to Abraham Lincoln, as quoted in a write up by Olusegun Oyedepo, “The Patent System Added the Fuel of Interest to the Fire of Genius” 

And to this end, a serious take on Patents law in Nigeria could be seen as providing good atmosphere for intended innovators or inventors which could directly or indirectly encourage for more innovation and creativity from individuals, and hence improve economic development. Supporting this, in a write up by Albert G.Z. Hu and I.P.L. Png, titled  Patent Rights and Economic Growth: Evidence from Cross-Country Panels of Manufacturing Industries, stated that the objective of patent rights is to foster innovation and economic growth. According to their difference-in-differences strategy to study the impact of changes in patent rights within panels of up to 54 manufacturing industries in up to 72 countries, they found that stronger patent rights were associated with faster growth among more patent-intensive industries.

 

Their findings added that  for an industry with average patent intensity, a one standard deviation increase in patent rights was associated with an increase in growth of 0.69% points, or almost a fifth of the average industry growth rate of 3.7%, adding that Patents “worked” through both encouraging factor accumulation and technical progress. 

Also, by Jackson Etti & Edu, intellectual property rights Promote trade and innovation especially in areas of technology, encourages the acquisition of more wealth, encourages the technological advancement of industries, helped the living conditions of people with major emphasis on patent which deals mainly with inventions. 

 Though the Nigerian Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has been doing its best in terms of intellectual property rights in Nigeria, Jackson Etti & Edu said there are still some challenges, which was mention to be Lack of awareness, Passive involvement of Government in Intellectual Property Law, most innovation are not registered, Counterfeiting Act performed by non owners of Intellectual Property Rights, Inadequate Policies by Government on Intellectual Property.

Recommending, Etti said for proper economic, social and cultural development to occur, Intellectual Property must play a fundamental role, saying there is the need to update Nigeria’s laws and incorporate the protection of IP rights on smell and sound as already practiced in the major world economies. Etti added that there should be enforcement of Intellectual Property rights by ensuring effective enforcement mechanism is put in place, providing adequate resources to combat counterfeiting and piracy, improvements on awareness as to the importance of Intellectual Property in Nigeria, Continuous education for registry personnel, and improvement on Government Policies especially in commercialization of invention where financial difficulty is encountered.

 Going further, it stated that there should be a thorough review of Patents and Trademark laws (which are archaic and a lot of deficiencies are contained), and also adequate legal infrastructure and progressive policies on protection of Intellectual Property. It added that there should be ratification of relevant treaties, stressing that  the need to domesticate the relevant treaties into Nigeria’s laws as a treaty cannot be enforced without it being ratified.

 

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