Patent as a Tool to Drive Innovation; Why Nigeria Needs To Radically embrace Patent Protection and Enforcement

Posted on Apr 26, 2017

Introduction

The dawn of industrialisation has been the start of progressive and developed economies of the world today and the reason is innovation. The aim of every inventor, visionary or innovator is primarily to profit from the creation/works of his hands. Therefore, the presence of a framework to facilitate the protection of his creation – intellectual property – will only spur efficiency, productivity and more innovation.

History of the Nigerian Patent Law System

The first patent legislation enacted in Nigeria was the Patents Ordinance No. 17 of 1900 and the Patents Proclamation Ordinance No. 27 of 1900. These statutes applied to the colony of Lagos and Southern protectorate Nigeria. Subsequently similar provisions were made to apply to the Northern protectorate Nigeria by virtue of the Patents Proclamation Ordinance No.12 of 1902. The Patents Ordinance and Patents Proclamation Ordinance was repealed and replaced with the Patents Ordinance of 1916 later renamed and re-enacted as the Registration of United Kingdom Patents Ordinance of 1925 (Cap 182 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Lagos 1958). The Patents and Designs Decree No. 60 (now Patents and Designs Act) (“The Act”) was enacted in 1970. The Act which created a Nigerian patent system and administration is still in force till today, and was published as CAP. P2 of the Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Patents in Nigeria

The purpose of patenting is essentially economic. The government, in order to encourage innovation in areas of technology and industrial designs assures an inventor of a monopoly right to exploit the invention for a limited period of time. It is envisaged that the inventor, during the period of such monopoly would have derived maximum financial benefit from the invention. Thus, the government ensures that inventions which could improve the quality of life of the citizenry are exploited to the good of the greatest number of people.

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