The Federal Government has been advised to formulate a national Intellectual Property Policy and prioritize
IP awareness and education to make the nation’s IP infrastructure to work for innovative Nigerian Youths.
The advice was given by resource persons at the opening of a two-day symposium in Lagos to mark this year’s World Intellectual Property Day with the theme; IP and Youth; Innovating for a Better Future.
The World Intellectual Property Day is commemorated on the 26th of April every year.
The symposium which was organised by the US Mission Nigeria, was also supported by the Nigeria Custom Service, NAFDAC, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Attended by Senior Secondary Schools’ students from selected schools in Lagos, who debated the relevance of International Property Right protection to Nigeria’s future, the symposium also examined cyber self defence and protection of the Nigerian Child and youths.
Highlighting the need for Nigeria to update its IP laws, a legal practitioner, Ngozi Aderibigbe stated that specialised courts must be established, while anti-counterfeiting measures and border control should be strengthened.
“IP courts will basically have Judges who are versed on the subject, who focus on Intellectual Property issues, understanding the pivotal tile it plays in commerce and in business today” she said.
On negotiating global opportunities for Nigeria’s budding innovators, a senior legal analyst, Ridwanulahi Olanite emphasized that information acquisition and knowledge sharing must be given priority.
Earlier in an opening remark, the US Ambassador, Marybeth Leornard who highlighted the importance of building respect for intellectual property rights as a strategic resource for economic growth, noted that though Nigeria still have a way to go in building a strong IPR regime, she expressed confidence that with the new legislation, along with new tools and energetic partners, the country is on the right path for protecting IPR.
She said “a strong system of IPR ensures inventors, industrial designers, musicians and artists alike, that their creative content will be protected and valued with payments from the use of their work product, they can invest in future innovations.
Such payments incentivise creators to make their innovations available on a broader scale, sharing knowledge that enables others to come up with additional novel and advanced solutions” she noted
The US Ambassador explained that the symposium was aimed at providing opportunities for young people to find out how intellectual property rights can support their goals, help transform ideas into reality, generate income, create jobs and make a positive impact, while also serving as a great time for those in the intellectual property space to shoot up Nigeria’s IPR legal framework to lay a solid foundation.
In a message, Director-General, World Intellectual Property Organization, Daren Tang, stated that his organisation is using the annual observance to close the knowledge gap as many young innovators and creators have only a limited awareness of IP and the role the global body could play in bringing their innovation journey forward.
“We must help our youth to realize their innovation and creative potential.
WIPO is working with many of you to develop initiatives that will help us use IP to translate your ideas into world changing products and services.
And that’s why we’re also encouraging our partners around the world to create programmes that speak to the aspirations and needs of young people. Let’s work together to ensure that the next generation have a voice in our conversations and debates about the future of the world” he said.
In a message to the event, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaiya Onu, who was represented by Dr Ephraim Okejiri said the country has been doing a lot in protecting IPR and more would still be done as the economy expands.