…as bill passes second reading
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
To adequately give protection to the intellectual properties of Nigerians, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed for second reading a bill seeking to repeal the Patents and Design Act of 1971.
Titled “Patent and Designs (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, it is sponsored by Hon. Oluga Taiwo representing Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan federal constituency of Osun State.
Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill at the plenary on Thursday, Hon. Taiwo said that the extant act was long overdue for amendment.
She said the act lacked requisite legal provisions to take care of contemporary issues of theft of intellectual properties.
She said: “This Bill seek to repeal the Patents Design Act of 1971 and re-Enact the Patents and Designs Act 2019, to bring about an upgrade in the body of laws governing Patents, Designs and Utility Models in Nigeria.
“The 1971 Act does not even recognize Utility Models as a type of Patent or Class of Intellectual Property in Nigeria. This is in contravention of the International Legal Instruments on Intellectual Property.
“The current legal framework for the administration of Patents in Nigeria is not only outdated but also inadequate to meet the needs of the modern society. In the current age of international trade, Nigeria cannot afford to be Isolated neither is it insulated from world events.
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“Therefore, the prospects of doing business in Nigeria should be at par with what obtains in other countries of the world by strengthening the Intellectual Property Regime in Nigeria, through the instrumentality of this bill.
“The intellectual property rights are exclusive rights that are conferred by law to an individual, enterprise, corporation or any legal entity for the products of that individual, enterprise or corporations or any legal entity for the product of his or its intellects. Products of intellects can take many forms as we know.”
The lawmaker enumerated such properties to include scientific inventions, industrial designs amongst others.
“And those that would be protected Include scientific inventions, industrial designs, signs of a purely commercial value or trademarks, a trade secret on the one hand; and they may be in the form of literary works. It may be in a form of artistic work or musical work. Intellectual property law does confer on the individual, the exclusive rights of exploiting, assigning, transmitting and contracting out creations of intellect.
“Those creations would have to be in some form as expressed in a legally admissible formal and, in some cases, are subject to registration procedures.
“In other words, the same way a person owns land or a person may own a car or any other item or property, the law provides for the protection of those tangible rights and ownership, provides protection and grants the individual exclusive rights to exploits the land or car in terms of selling it, renting it or exporting or importing a car or tangible asset, in the same way with intellectual property.
“The law provides protection for exclusive exploitation, assignment, transmission and the contracting-out of novel creations of the intellect”, Taiwo said.
She added that the Patent Bill was designed to enhance the quality of life of all Nigerians and provides a comprehensive industrial/intellectual property system that protects innovations and creative expressions.
“It is a helpful pre-condition to creating and using new technology and therefore, it would boost economic growth and aid development.
“The New Bill seeks to repeal the old law and re-enact a fresh Patent, Designs and Utility Model Law, which updates the extant 1971 Patent and Designs Act and it incorporates several recommendations from the publications of the World Intellectual Property Organization”, the lawmaker stressed.
The bill when put to voice vote received the support of the majority of the members and was therefore passed for second reading.